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Below are the 19 most recent journal entries recorded in Qyxxql Merlin's LiveJournal:

Saturday, April 5th, 2008
11:13 pm
Gandhi's Salt Satyagraha Walk in Second Life...
Please forgive the delays with my blogging...I really prefer the direct contact and experiences afforded by living within the Metaverse and reflecting on this whole metaphysical journey is just to remind myself that I have a duty and a responsibility to report on my findings to others with the limited amount of experience that words themselves can transmit.

I had such an amazing experience earlier today though that I feel that I should not waste any reflective time and report on it now...

Earlier today I was part of a wonderful walk with the avatar of MahatmaGandhi Chakrabarti. Gandhi in real life is Joseph Delappe and he is re-enacting the original Salt March to Dandi in the hopes of achieving virtual enlightenment.

He used a real treadmill to cause his avatar to walk across all the various islands and properties of Second Life - public and private.

His physical self had actually walked 240 miles by the end of the walk. I was fortunate enough to walk with Gandhi for the final 3+ miles.

His performance/spiritquest was broadcast and documented at Eyebeam Gallery in New York...

You really should visit his wonderful blog at http://saltmarchsecondlife.wordpress.com

Here are some more pictures for you...

We had assembled on Sugar Seville's Odyssey Island and as a reward, we earned our own walking sticks...some might call them staffs...Gandhi was going to reach his quota of 240 miles today. I guess at the time we had assembled he had already walked 237 miles over the previous 2 weeks or so...

This is another angle of the assembly...

I think enough of us had finally assembled to follow Gandhi on his culminating journey...

...it was not long before Second Life itself had more grid-failure problems and I had difficulties restoring my own remote connection so by the time I had returned, only Gandhi and Cinco Pizzicato was left...

After about a mile of walking through difficult terrain, we discovered this lovely Italian plaza area...I am not sure what the Italian name was for this architectural feature but it was elegant and gorgeous, nevertheless...

I am pleased that I was able to capture the energy between us as walkers. We did not speak that much during our walkabout. I really think we had an intuitive rapport that was bordering on the telepathic.

Here we are negotiating at the base of the stairs over our next travel destination. I recommended a virtual Hajj pilgrimage and Cinco Pizzicato - our other walking companion - seemed to agree with us...

Words cannot describe the virtual elation I felt when standing this close to the Kaaba. I almost felt as if I was tresspassing on this sacred ritual space...I knew that we had to begin following the arrows to emulate the necessary circular counterclockwise rotations around the Kaaba's perimeter.

Out of respect for our Brothers and Sisters in the Muslim community, we followed the arrows to make sure we are circling the Kaaba in the correct direction...

This portrait was taken right at the moment that Gandhi had completed his 240 mile trek...This was quite the endurance ritual. I hold Mahatma Ghandi in very high regard...

Current Mood: accomplished
Thursday, December 13th, 2007
12:08 pm
Nina and the Mystic Twins...
Two weeks ago, I had a wonderful and enlightening experience with the Angel-Channeler Nina Lancaster and the enigmatic yet hyper-revealing Mystic Twins (Lagu Indigo and Stardove Choche). Nina invited me to have a personal one-and-one Spirit-Guide reading for me and how could I resist such a kind offer? Like most of the citizens of the Second Nations Assembly (see the posting about this group by scrolling down the blog), I knew that behind my Posthuman and Alien appearance, I was very much a biological humanoid entity that was seeking to be more grounded in my "real life" (RL). For confidentiality reasons, I will not reveal too much from what was discussed except to say that I have discovered new aspects about myself in Real Life (RL) that I can now channel towards moving towards my Higher Self.... Here are some photos of this transcendental yet intimate session that was held in Nina Lancaster's Healing Pool Centre for angelic transmissions and spirit-guided meditation...

Nina Lancaster began using the in-world voice chat in Second Life to open a channel between her Real and Virtual avatar self and that of the angelic realm...From this channel, her personal angelic spirit guide said that I was unable to directly access my higher self at my convenience due to my own lack of recognizing some of my own spirit guides which have been visible to me and have been trying over the years to make their presence known before my very own (biological) eyes... Her Guardian-Angel also said that I needed to
"notice my love"...at first I did not know what this meant but then a friend of Nina's magically arrived to help illuminate this cryptic observation......

Nina's friend is Lagu Indigo and she is one of the acclaimed Mystic Twins. Along with Nina, she declared that many of my spirit guides had incarnated as animals on Earth... Now everything became more clear. In my real and virtual lives, I have never been that connected with the animal kingdom (perhaps this might explain my desire to transcend the animalistic limitations of the physical humanoid form)... So in this sense, I never noticed that deep down my love should would also extend to animals - even those that might appear hostile at first... Still though, I had further questions... For example, what of my connection with the usual discarnate and disembodied consciouss-only entities? What about them? My desire(s) were still being focused on an exclusively platonic plane(s) of manifestation...

Once Lagu's Mystic Twin Stardove Choche arrived, I was able understand alot more about my current spiritual situation. The lesson learned from all this was that I was too focused on only channeling the more disembodied and virtualized spirit entities for guidance and now I will need to open my mind to the more "mundane" aspects of spirit manifestation. It turns out that one guide I thought was angelic in origin is actually a discarnate human who was a wise monk-like wizard (another "Merlin", perhaps?) in the Middle Ages (who actually is the namesake of a biblical Angel which added to my confusion but I think it is best if I do not reveal his name lest any public disclosure dilutes his direct guidance). I also found out that one of my Maternal Grandfather is also watching over me and the Twins gave me enough evidence to verify this claim in order to satisfy my occasional rationalist skepticism and unite me multi-dimensional heart, mind and pixel.
To add to all this, it turned out that in RL, I embody the Wolf-Spirit archetype persona - that of an occasional loner who craves deeper meaning and wisdom from others.
So from now on, I will expand my realm to include the "real" analog world alongside the "virtual" realms in order to achieve a quantum spiritual unity. I believe it was Ken Wilbur who in RL (Real Life) encouraged us to "transcend AND include" all of our accumulated realities throughout the Multiverse...

Current Mood: hopeful
Friday, May 18th, 2007
2:15 pm
Nichiren Buddhism in Second Life...

Immediately after my workshop with Nina Lancaster, I had a visit with one of the co-attendees, Miako Watanabe. She lives in Kyoto in RL (Real Life) and is a practicing Nichiren Buddhist in both RL and SL (Second Life).
Miako has built this lovely Nichiren Buddhist Temple with her husband.

Here are some educational links about Nichiren Buddhism...


What I find very interesting and encouraging in Nichiren Buddhism has to do with the fact that Nichiren the monk had adopted many of the same concepts from his original Shinto faith. Therefore, the animism of many other faiths are accepted with a warm and compassionate embrace.

The name of this temple is actually pronounced "Nam-Myōhō-Renge-Kyō" and is also the lyrics for Nichiren's mantra called the "Daimoku". Nichiren felt that followers could achieve enlightment in a single lifetime if this mantra was constantly chanted and meditated upon. Miako had this Daimoku on an audio-loop during our entire conversation and already I was starting to feel that enlightment was just around the corner :-)

Miako was very kind and I enjoyed the tea ceremony I had with her...what gracious hospitality :-)

She has already made me a Teacher of her in-world group because in her particular brand of Nichiren Buddhism, everyone is not only a student but also a teacher :-)

Current Mood: awake
12:57 pm
Guided by an Angel - Nina Lancaster's Creative Visualization Workshop...
Photo by Miulew Takahe.

About a month ago (which is eons ago in SL time), my friend Miulew Takahe introduced me to the very angelic spirit-guide counsellor, Nina Lancaster (pictured with wings above). Nina invited me to attend her wonderful and transformative creative visualization workshop in-world. I do not recall the exact location but I think it took place on her own island. Maybe Nina will be able to leave a comment on this blog posting to clarify the location details...

Photo by Miulew Takahe.

So, Nina guided us on an internal mental journey where we created our own movie out of the metaverse-linked worlds that constitute the domain of our collective imagination-space.

She wanted us to play our movies in our own heads without telling anyone else what sorts of wishes that we were fulfilling. She wanted each one of us to be the stars of our own movie and hopefully, if we were disciplined and creative enough with our private group meditation, we would be able to superimpose this "fantasy" reality overtop our immediate and immanent reality in Second Life.

After all, isn't Second Life itself superimposed over our visual and imaginative field in Real Life (RL)?

What Miss Lancaster showed us was that any "virtual" or "imaginary" reality could be equally as real if our focus was in the right place at the right time. We could create our own reality and hopefully, the magickal impact of this sort of visualization will bring this 3rd Life dimension into our Second and First Lives as well.

Our avatars, no matter how virtual they appear (even the biological one in RL), are holograms reflecting our divine essence and utopian ambitions...

I believe that Lancaster attributes the facilitation of these superimposed realities to not only ourselves but also to our Spirit Guides (Guardian Angels) who are "Legion for they are many" (personal variation on a famous quote).

I now count Nina Lancaster as one of my many Guardian Angels in Second Life.
Perhaps we can have an in-world channeling session in the near future together so we can determine the specific names and personality profiles of the rest of our spirit-guide avatars.

I think it is safe to say that I believe in Angels :-)

Special thanks to Miulew for introducing me to my new guardian angel, Nina Lancaster. I hope to correspond and co-visualize with her more in the future...

Current Mood: creative
1:22 am
Seminar on Transhumanism and Religion Commentary 3.4.2 Interview with Ahman Hax and conclusion...

Here is my interview that I conducted with Ahman Hax (Lincoln Cannon) last week via email about Mormon Transhumanism aka. Transfigurism...

QYXXQL MERLIN: What is the Mormon Transhumanists' position towards those who become Posthuman but do not adopt the Christ Consciousness as part of their moral fabric?

AHMAN HAX: Here are two responses to your question:

1) One may adopt a Christ consciousness without calling it "Christ".

There is an insightful story in the Book of Mormon that illustrates this idea. As the story goes, there was a king that was impressed by the service that a missionary provided to the kingdom, and the king wanted to know more about the ideas that inspired the missionary. The missionary asked whether the king believed in God. The king replied that he didn't know anything about God. The missionary responded by asking whether the king believed in a "Great Spirit". The king replied in the affirmative, and the missionary quickly affirmed: "That is God."

This story is reflected in various aspects of Mormon thought and practice. Joseph Smith claimed that he would force no one to believe as him, except by persuasion, and that if persuasion did not work with a person then he would build that person up in her own way. Likewise, missionaries of the LDS Church are taught to emphasize commonalities between Mormon beliefs and those of the persons they teach, instead of arguing over who is right. The current leader of the LDS Church, Gordon Hinckley, has also taught that persons converting to Mormonism should bring with them all of the good they have received from other ideologies, and add to that what Mormonism can provide.

2) As Joseph Smith described it, we look forward to worlds without end, each adapted to the desires and wills of its inhabitants.

Joseph taught of a class of worlds, as innumerable and varying as the stars, in which the inhabitants would not embrace a Christ consciousness, yet would enjoy glory far beyond that which we now experience. In Mormon cosmology, there is no permanent hell, except perhaps for the small number of persons that would seek constantly to create hell for themselves. To emphasize the pragmatism of this idea, Joseph once claimed, in response to critics, that if he and the Mormons are sent to hell then they will make a heaven of it.

That said, Mormons do understand faith in Christ (who by any other name is as divinely and eternally charitable) to be essential to enabling more advanced classes of worlds.

QYXXQL MERLIN: Hello again, I forgot to ask you as a Mormon Transhumanist, where do you personally draw the line between the right-to-choose (self-determination) and societal oppression?

For example, I know that some Mormons (perhaps all), oppose the act of homosexuality and probably beastiality too but what if the Posthuman chooses
to switch (or even neutralize) gender and perhaps even species of their own
free will? Do they lose their right to Godhood in the Posthuman era or is
it only as not-yet-Gods that we are denied the right to choose such

AHMAN HAX: I believe dynamic balance is required between the wills of individuals and the laws of their communities, neither being more important than the other.

This reflects Mormon soteriology, which inter-relates individual and communal salvation.

Most Mormons do oppose homosexual relations, generally because they are
perceived as being incompatible with or a poor environment for families,
which Mormons consider to be the strongest foundation for community.

Personally, I do not oppose homosexual relations to the extent that they are
committed and consensual, with no neglect, abuse, promiscuity or infidelity
involved (which are precisely the same qualifications I put on appropriate
heterosexual relations).

The LDS Church, of which I am a member, does oppose homosexual acts of all sorts and will excommunicate any member that engages in them, although it does not oppose homosexual inclinations, so long as they are not acted upon.

Obviously, in this case, I am not representative of most Mormons, but I am certainly not alone. Given that this is an emotionally charged issue, I try not to focus on it, choosing instead to direct my energy toward matters that will take us all forward to a day when perhaps we can look on these matters in clearer light.

Regarding bestiality, every Mormon I know opposes it. Personally, my opposition arises from the same reasoning that leads me to oppose sexual
relations between adult humans and their children. As I see it, the
psychological consequences of human sexuality are such that the practice
should be reserved as an intimate expression between persons of similar
spiritual magnitude, otherwise it quickly becomes oppressive.

I can imagine future paradigms in which my practical views, and those of
other Mormons, regarding sex and gender issues could change dramatically.

As Joseph taught, morality adapts to context, and new revelation will never
cease. Our theology and ethics are not absolutist, even if some Mormons
choose so to behave in regards to various matters.

QYXXQL MERLIN: It seems that Transfiguration inplies that that the Son becomes the Father (God) or at least Father-like in an infinite cycle of progression.

What I have learned about Mormonism so far is that the image of the heavenly
Father is actually in our image...by that, did Joseph Smith mean that any
Mormon Posthuman would in fact still look completely Humanoid but with
Godlike powers? I noticed for example that your avatar in SL looked quite
human and not so alien in its appearance...is this to express the humanoid
appearance of the Fatherly avatar? Would a Posthuman with Mormonesque
beliefs in Christ and Mormon morality be considered saved if the image of
the Posthuman did not look at all humanoid?

AHMAN HAX: Most Mormons believe that God is and will be humanoid in physical
appearance. However, I believe a persuasive case, using Mormon scripture and
tradition, can be made for keeping our minds open to additional
possibilities. Joseph Smith repeatedly taught that God has always interacted
with humanity according to our understanding, complete with its various
limitations. Moreover, Joseph taught that humanity commonly sees God without
comprehending. Such teachings, coupled with the pervasive Mormon expectation
of eternally continuing revelation, should remind us, as the Bible puts it,
that eternal life is to know God -- and if we assume dogmatically to know
God exhaustively then we are merely damning ourselves from learning more.

QYXXQL MERLIN:... another great answer about the persuasive case of the possible post-humanoid nature of God... I was comtemplating more about the idea of God the Father being made in "our image"...maybe you are thinking along the same lines as me when thinking about what "our image" actually is? Perhaps you are hinting in your persuasive case that "our image" could be the mirror-image of all of multidimensional selves that exist within the endless worlds of creation? This would allow both God and ourselves who wish to become as God to choose the kind of image we would wish according to our will in this practical dimension, correct?
For example, I consider my avatar lives (yes, I have more than one) to be the more godlike/ideal aspects of my RL self..in a sense, I consider it a reflection of my higher moral self (well, at least as Qyxxql)...I also personally believe in astral counterparts who are my higher selves in other dimensions...so, if I pursue Godhood in the physical/realm, I can also choose to mold my mundane humanoid self into these higher manifestations of my outward appearance or "image", right?

AHMAN HAX: Qyxxql, I am personally open to the ideas you express above. My primary concern is that our choices in such matters (indeed, in all matters) do not oppress others, except to the extent of countering their oppression. On the one hand, that sounds simple, but, on the other hand, recognition of and proper response to oppression is a complex issue -- infinitely complex, I suspect...


And now, here are some concluding thoughts I have about Mormon Transhumanism, as I currently understand it... First of all, I should quote here
the official comparison between Mormonism and Transhumanism:

"Mormon teachings of the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times parallel Transhumanist ideas regarding the Fourth Epoch, in at least the following ways:

Present knowledge is the culmination of multiple past periods.
Acquisition of knowledge and power is accelerating.
Future progress depends on knowledge and power acquired today.

First, present knowledge is the culmination of multiple past periods. In the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times, we benefit from the restoration of the knowledge and power of previous dispensations. Likewise, in the Fourth Epoch, the technologies of previous epochs – physics, chemistry, biology and brains –enable present human technologies.

Second, the acquisition of knowledge and power is accelerating. In the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times, God is shortening the days and increasing the rapidity of the work. Similarly, in the Fourth Epoch, technological advances are recursively leveraging previous advances to progress exponentially.

Third, future progress depends on knowledge and power acquired today. In the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times, we are establishing the foundation for yet greater dispensations to come. Analogously, in the Fourth Epoch, we are introducing technologies that will enable future epochs to combine biological and information technologies.

Mormon teachings of the Millennium and immortality parallel Transhumanist ideas regarding the Singularity and transhumans in at least the following ways:

First, a period of dramatic and unexpected change is imminent. Although some ridicule and few have recognized its signs, the Millennium approaches, and we should prepare ourselves for the Day of Transfiguration and its attending changes. Likewise, although critics scoff and despite the
intuitive linear view of change, the Singularity is nearer than we anticipate, and we should review and mitigate associated risks.

Second, minds and bodies may be changed diversely. In the twinkling of an eye, we and other animals may be transfigured or resurrected to bodies of varying types and degrees of glory.

Similarly, information technology may enable genetics, nanotech and robotics to enhance the minds and bodies of humans and other animals.

Third, anatomical changes may extend lives indefinitely. From one transfiguration to another, exchanging blood for spirit, we may attain immortality. Analogously, as transhumans, we may
extend or exchange our biological substrate with another to ensure persistence of our identity.

Fourth, our work may contribute to these changes. Transfiguration and resurrection may be ordinances for us to perform for each other. Comparatively, our science may provide technology
that enables us to enhance ourselves and attain indefinite longevity."
- Parallels and Complements between Mormonism and Transhumanism - .

And here are my concluding point form reflections on this quoted text...

-Mormons are judged for their "works" and so the Mormon Transhumanists wanted to make sure their faith was more actively involved in the emergent future of Transfiguration as outlined in the Book of Mormon. What better way to beta-test their "works" in the Transfigurable environment of Second Life?

-Mormons seem to suggest that the "creation of worlds without end" might refer to virtual worlds such as SL and the future descendents that might be inspired by it or even related to SL's memetic heritage.

-Morality would occur because of the possible awareness that our simulators of this virtual world (See Nick Bostrom's Simulation Hypothesis in a previous posting) are judging our actions for the next level or "afterlife"...In order to become Posthuman, we must emulate the benevolent moralist of the Posthumans that created us as inhabitants of one of many "worlds without end"...

Well, I think I have given a sufficient amount of commentary for this Transhumanism and Religion seminar...if anyone wishes to further this discussion, please add a comment to one of my postings and we can take it from there...

My next posting (to be unveiled in the near-future) will be about creative visualization in SL due to our Angelic Spirit Guides :-)

Current Mood: curious
12:57 am
Seminar on Transhumanism and Religion Commentary 3.4 Mormon Transhumanism...

I am concluding my commentary on the Transhumanism and Religion seminar by focusing on the last speaker of the afternoon, Ahman Hax (Lincoln Cannon) of the Mormon Transhumanist Association.

In both Real Life (RL) and Second Life (SL), the MTA are classic Transfigurists and their website is http://www.transfigurism.org

Although I was unable to attend long enough to listen to Elder Hax's presentation in its entirety, he has been very generous with his time and effort to help me understand better the complex nature of Mormon Transhumanism.

The RL media has this lingering stereotype about the typical Mormon as a subservient member of a technologically retrogressive (similar to the Amish stereotype) polygamist cult who goes door to door spreading the word of the Book of Mormon (often confused with Jehovah's Witnesses). This stereotype embedded deep within our secular consciousness may turn to be increasingly problematic once we learn more about their little known (possibly even intentionally obscured) progressive tendencies towards Transhumanism.

So, what do all Mormons believe whether living in SL or RL?

One thing Mormons of all stripes have in common are their 13 articles of faith which are:

1 We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.

2 We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.

3 We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.

4 We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.

5 We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.

6 We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth.

7 We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth.

8 We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.

9 We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.

10 We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.

11 We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.

12 We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.

13 We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul – We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.

So in my next posting, I will be featuring an exclusive interview with Elder Hax which includes his personal interpretation of The Book of Mormon as it relates to Transhumanism.

For the record, Hax wanted to be clear from the start that his interpretation of Mormonism is identical to the authentic/classical version of the faith's doctrine... Here is a quote from him on the subject:

“Regarding authenticity, please be assured that the views I have shared with you are authentically Mormon. For example, Joseph Smith and other Mormon leaders have given entire discourses focused on the plurality of gods and deification of humanity, and these continue to be important aspects of contemporary Mormon thought. Not all Mormons will agree with all of the details of the view I have presented to you, but most will agree with the overall vision and most of the details. As in all religions, and all non-religious ideologies, there is a diversity of perspective among Mormons -- we even have our luddites. Recently, a relatively objective look at Mormonism was broadcast on PBS. It does not give enough attention to some matters such as theology, but the information it does provide is generally accurate. You can watch it online here: http://www.pbs.org/mormons/view/” – Ahman Hax/Lincoln Cannon – Mormon Transhumanist Association, 2007

So, with this in mind, please allow me to compose one more blog posting where I articulate my personal meditations about Mormon Transhumanism as well as correspond with Ahman Hax directly about the deeper levels behind Transfigurism...

Current Mood: curious
Thursday, May 17th, 2007
12:56 am
Seminar on Transhumanism and Religion Commentary Part 3.3.2 - James Sleeper...

I hope that I have sufficiently laid down the conceptual, metaphysical and philosphical foundations of contemporary Transhumanism enough for me to build my snail-paced commentary for you.

First, lets discuss the demographic makeup of those that share the "core values" of Transhumanism...

The WTA (possibly under the direct supervision of James Sleeper) had conducted a survey from within its official membership base.

After reading the survey, I found a couple of the survey questions somewhat misleading when determining the precise personal nature of one's highest core values...

For example, the survey question "Is the concept of the 'meaning of life' derived from human responsibility and opportunity rather than divine revelation?" cannot be readily satisfied with a simple "yes" or "no" answer.

This question only has merit for those with dualistic thinking patterns.
It could be equally likely for an avatar to believe that the 'meaning of life' can be derived from human responsibility and opportunity in collusion/participation (conscious or not) with divine revelation. I wonder what percentage of WTA members would agree to this post-theological compromise? Certainly, this is much closer to my personal belief. "Human" responsibility is more complex than that....the divine nature of reality is a bigger picture than micro-issues of individual responsibility and divine revelation..either are possible and maybe even work in tandem for us all to evolve into higher-level beings.

Here is another problematic question in the survey...
"which of these best describes your religious and spiritual views?" (followed by a list of conventional religious faiths and also secular/materialist beliefs)...

Although Atheists, Monotheists, Polytheists and Pantheists are represented in the survey, in terms of my personal affiliation with any official religious faith, I personally fit into the 11% of Transhumanists that would identify with "none of the above". My belief straddles between Monism (the belief that we ARE One "God") and Pantheism with a healthy dosage of non-fundamentalist Gnosticism....and yet, I am still completely comfortable with being Transhumanist. I think this survey question needs a deep and careful revision because addressing issues of the divine goes beyond a mere nametag and also beyond the theism/atheism agnostic/gnostic dialectic.

Now, I am wondering which percentage might share my "religious" views and/or sympathies?

Ok, I will move onward... Is it really the case that all core-Transhumanists fundamentally reject the concept of the "supernatural spirit"?

Again, we have to re-look at the definition of "natural"...if "nature" is itself super (supreme, even) than nothing is more "super" than it...I can then safely agree with the first speaker Giulio's interpretation of the seemingly "supernatural" being in fact, "quite natural" but of course, this is not to devalue the omnipotence that the intelligent metaverse has...

In terms of our limited comprehension, the metaverse with all its boundless dimensions seems much more "supernatural" to us than we could ever begin to imagine as isolated individuals but yes, we still have the ability to collaborate and participate in this "supernatural" tendency towards merging with divinity as higher beings (in every respect).

So, seeing this through the microcosmic lens of "humanity", there is nothing wrong with our collective will to super-size our "natural" capabilities.

I believe that we are all allowed either as biological/material entities and/or as virtualized avatars to be the Prime Movers of our Posthumanist destiny without needing constant supervision from some Supernatural Spirit although it is probably a very wise idea to accept the guidance from such a Spirit if it manifests to us and appears to be trustworthy and benevolent :-)
Maybe the "Sleeper" will awaken ;-)

I should add that I agree in principle with the "Non-Anthropocentric Personhood Theory" that Mr. Sleeper has endorsed in the seminar.

The concept of the "unique soul" in Christiandom is merely an avataric manifestation of All That There Is who is playing a game with itself..the ultimate soul identity never changes but after-death, one can become an "alt" with either retained or abandoned memories through incarnation (or mind uploading)...or perhaps one could even become a "brand new soul" but will still always part of the greater consciousness of the divine.

In this sense, I can agree with Anne Foerst's notion of the "relational soul".

Therefore, mind uploading and consciousness transfer is merely "avatar transfer" and a recycling of the more superficial expressions of the ultimate identity.

For creativity's sake, soul upgrading and transferring is completely permitted as part of the dynamics of the divine "game" without end.

If one chooses to "hack the Matrix" (or as some older generations might say, "hack the Maya") and conjure some occult cheat-codes, one would eventually discover that literally anything has this distributed anima and can become overtly conciousness -even machines, other "inanimate objects" and even "thought forms" or "Tulpas" pulled directly out of another dimension called the "imagination" can pass the Turing Test and appear independentally conscious to the "unique" perceiving soul of the targeted "Human", "Transhuman" or "Posthuman" entity.

James Sleeper went on to show us an embedded Powerpoint slide of "Angels".
Sleeper was hitting the point home that the Posthumans of the future (in the biological world, that is) might actually be the prophecized Angel-Humanoid Chimeras known as the Nephilim... The tale of the Nephilim was originally used to describe the notion of Hubris (arrogance and pride in thinking that one can become as divine as God) and warned of Humankind's eventual fall from the grace of divinity.

I would say to this that the desire to become truly Posthuman in every respect is not an insult or even challenge to the divinity of "God". Such thinking only traps one into the merely 2-dimensional Humanistic grid of the Hubrix Cube. The more powerful we become, the more we can celebrate how much MORE powerful and omnipotent and omniscient God/Allah is... It would be an act of condensation to lower the attributes of God/Allah closer to our currently limited level of divinity. The most benevolent and powerful God/Allah would most certainly expect the created minions to become "Gods" ("created co-creators") themselves through a process of evolutionary responsibility and struggle towards the singularity.

What is the Singularity, you ask? Here are two quick quoted definitions from an official source for you...

"The Techno-Rapture. A black hole in the Extropian worldview whose gravity is so intense that no light can be shed on what lies beyond it."

- From Godling's Glossary by David Victor de Transend.

"The Singularity is a common matter of discussion in transhumanist circles. There is no clear definition, but usually the Singularity is meant as a future time when societal, scientific and economic change is so fast we cannot even imagine what will happen from our present perspective, and when humanity will become posthumanity. Another definition is used in the Extropians FAQ, where it denotes the singular time when technological development will be at its fastest. Of course, there are some who think the whole idea is just technocalyptic dreaming. "

So, James Sleeper has compared this Singularity to a kind of prophecized Techno-Rapture - a milennial meme virus so powerful, even Dr. Ray Kurzweil has been infected by it in mind, body, avatar, and spirit.

Perhaps this Singularity time is also an "end-time event horizon" (Qyxxql Merlin, 2007) where the realms of RL/SL finally merge...Second Life begins to resemble our First Life in more ways than we could have ever previously imagined... We might be approaching such an ascension exponentially every 18 months or so :-) Perhaps when RL merges with SL, we can finally transcend the Buddhist notion of the suffering of interdimensional entities known as "Dukkha"?

The idea of a dimensional singularity fits well into my belief in a hyper-dynamic form of evolutionary monism. In fact, Nick Bostrom's "Simulation Hypothesis" from 2003 suggests that we might already be simulated avatars who are primed via a new form of manifest destiny to transform into mirror-images of our Posthuman creators from a future time, extraterrestrial space or perhaps even from a realm outside of our known time/space continuum. Bostrom seems to indicate that if we are currently living in a simulation in RL as well as SL, that would mean that we were created by a collective of higher beings who created us to become equally omnipotent and omniscient beings with the responsibility of creating further virtualizations of ourselves in a derivative virtual world but is it not also possible that the whole cycle of virtualization is part and parcel of a singular divine entity from which everything is an infinite chain of compelling simulations?

Speaking of simulations, we should explore the concept of "Theodicy" in relation to Transhumanist ambitions... Theodicy is the attempt to explain or rationalize the existence of suffering and evil in a divinely created metaverse. Does evil really exist and what is its purpose? Why does God/Allah allow suffering?

I think we need to look more closely at Second Life itself to point to a possible answer. Second Life was created out of the minds and willpower of the "Benevolent Dictators" known as the Linden family. Their only purpose was to create a world where the imagination and free-will reigned supreme. This meant that all suffering, moral degradation and other vices would become the exclusive responsibility of its citizens. All the Lindens did as Gods was create the basic infrastructure where "user-created content" could proliferate with the least amount of technical friction.

In this sense, Second Life as a divine-world simulation suggests a metaverse in RL where everything including "evil" and "suffering" are permitted in order to express the full diversity of free-will which is the highest aspect of creativity in evolution and life.

The Lindens rarely intervene into the affairs of their avatar citizens unless coerced by another RL agency and even then, only do this reluctantly.

If we are created in the image of "God/Allah" then perhaps the Lindens themselves represent the divine mind of Godhead?

Through Second Life, are we seeing the truth behind the nature of Theodicy?

This is more of a question than an answer but this comparitive analogy has allowed me to meditate deeper into the nature of evil and suffering in our "real" world a little more clearly than before.

Well, this commentary could probably extent into infinity but I will stop here and allow others to comment on my thoughts and extend the commentary about James Sleeper's presentation from that point on...

Before I retreat into RL, I must add that I agree with Patrick Hopkins' statement from 2005 that "both religion and transhumanism are soteriological efforts to transcend animality."....

And now, I must prepare my research notes for my up and coming blog posting about Ahman Hax and Mormon Transhumanism...

Current Mood: indescribable
12:38 am
Seminar on Transhumanism and Religion Commentary Part 3.3.1 - James Sleeper

Please forgive the length of time between commentary postings...
"Real" Life has been consuming most of my blogging time.

However, I have managed to spend some precious moments by myself in deep contemplation and meditation regarding this seminar's theme.

For this 3rd speaker known as James Sleeper (Hughes), I have realized that I will need to post my commentary on his presentation in two sub-parts. Sleeper's presentation was the longest and the most comprehensive...

Also, since Hughes is the current President of the World Transhumanist Association (WTA), I consider him to be the official voice of contemporary Transhumanism (not to be confused with the Extropians now led by Dr. Anders Sandberg).

Since Sleeper/Hughes is the official voice of World Transhumanism, I think it is necessary for me to post quotes from their website on the topic of religion...this will help shape the context for my more detailed commentary in the next posting...

Please visit their site at http://www.transhumanism.org if you wish to explore more of their concepts in depth.

Very well then... Here is a re-posting from the official WTA FAQ on the subject of its relation to religion:

"5.3 How does transhumanism relate to religion?
Transhumanism is a philosophical and cultural movement concerned with promoting responsible ways of using technology to enhance human capacities and to increase the scope of human flourishing.

While not a religion, transhumanism might serve a few of the same functions that people have traditionally sought in religion. It offers a sense of direction and purpose and suggests a vision that humans can achieve something greater than our present condition. Unlike most religious believers, however, transhumanists seek to make their dreams come true in this world, by relying not on supernatural powers or divine intervention but on rational thinking and empiricism, through continued scientific, technological, economic, and human development. Some of the prospects that used to be the exclusive thunder of the religious institutions, such as very long lifespan, unfading bliss, and godlike intelligence, are being discussed by transhumanists as hypothetical future engineering achievements.

Transhumanism is a naturalistic outlook. At the moment, there is no hard evidence for supernatural forces or irreducible spiritual phenomena, and transhumanists prefer to derive their understanding of the world from rational modes of inquiry, especially the scientific method. Although science forms the basis for much of the transhumanist worldview, transhumanists recognize that science has its own fallibilities and imperfections, and that critical ethical thinking is essential for guiding our conduct and for selecting worthwhile aims to work towards.

Religious fanaticism, superstition, and intolerance are not acceptable among transhumanists. In many cases, these weaknesses can be overcome through a scientific and humanistic education, training in critical thinking, and interaction with people from different cultures. Certain other forms of religiosity, however, may well be compatible with transhumanism.

It should be emphasized that transhumanism is not a fixed set of dogmas. It is an evolving worldview, or rather, a family of evolving worldviews – for transhumanists disagree with each other on many issues. The transhumanist philosophy, still in its formative stages, is meant to keep developing in the light of new experiences and new challenges. Transhumanists want to find out where they are wrong and to change their views accordingly..."
WTA Website FAQ - http://www.transhumanism.org/index.php/WTA/faq21/82/

And here is the quoted abstract from James Hughes' article "On The Compatibility of Religion and Transhumanism"...

"Transhumanism – the proposition that human beings should use technology to transcend the limitations of the body and brain –
is a product of the Enlightenment humanist tradition.

As a consequence most avowed transhumanists are secular,
and many religious are skeptical or hostile towards the transhumanist project. However there are also many religious transhumanists
who find the project of human enhancement at least consistent with, and sometimes a fulfillment of, their metaphysics, soteriologies and eschatologies.

Transhumanism appears to be especially compatible with religious traditions that emphasize human agency and evolution to a transcendent state, such as
Buddhism, or that have incorporated Enlightenment values, such as liberal Christianity. But elements of the transhumanist worldview and enhancement
technologies are compatible with one element or another of most world faiths, even the most fundamentalist. We can thus expect that human enhancement
technologies will be adopted creatively into the theologies of groups within all the world’s faiths, producing many flavors of 'trans-spirituality'.”

-James Hughes, April 16, 2007 - http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/hughes20070401/

And now that I have established the general context for contemporary Transhumanism's relation to religion, I will provide more detailed and personal commentary in my next posting...

Current Mood: busy
Tuesday, May 8th, 2007
12:52 am
Seminar and Transhumanism and Religion Part 3.2 Commentary Continued...
Photo by Miulew Takahe.

The next speaker was Extropia DaSilva and she spoke with bullets of rapid-fire text-bytes...

Fortunately, she has published her high-octane talk here:


What interests me about DaSilva is that she does not profess to have a counterpart in RL. She seems to be "pure" that way and focused deeply on the fundamentally immersive properties of contemporary (but near-future) virtual space.

I believe she was very well-discpilined when it came to her subject and she had a very cyborgian (a better word than "cybernetic", in this context)approach to her dissemination of factioids, viral singularity memes and other digestable textlets of intellectual virtuosity.

What concerned me a little bit in her speech was the tone of it. On the one hand, she was very concerned with transcending the restrictive fundamentalism of the Bio-conservatives but I felt that she was using a disproportionate amount of Transhumanist Fundamentalism (Logical Positivism, Modernist Empirical Objectivism, Scientific Atheism) as her main resource.

Perhaps, I mis-read the tone behind her speech. It is possible that it was the research and not her emotions that pointed her in what appeared to be this direction.

For example, she speaks of "dogma (getting) in the way of knowledge" but the "scientific" knowledge she speaks of might not have any real certainty - whose only "evidence" is having its own paradigm shift every decade or so.

Any "evidence" might indeed be a trickster-ploy created by an intelligent simulation that constantly updates itself in realtime...This is Nick Bostrom's current theory from a few years ago that James Sleeper (aka. James Hughes) mentioned in his talk...

Perhaps even since the time of Copernicus, we have been living in an intelligent simulation that was designed to fool us into thinking we have finally found the answers to our coveted augmentation attempts.

As much as we feel seduced and compelled to do ascribe "objectivity" and "immutability" (my words, not hers) onto these empirical clues, one cannot base scientific certainty onto this "evidence" - only a leap of faith similar to those adopted by religious fundmentalists. I think if we can also confess that until there really is any "objective" evidence pointing us in the way of certainty, then we must also be open to the idea that we are people of faith (which is no less inspiring, I should add). It is even a leap of faith for us to assume that we have an active "control" over the technology and not some sort of "collaborative dialogue" with these apparently intelligent sub-atomic pixels and particles.

Is it not also a leap of faith to assume that God is merely a delusion and that the "Watchmaker" is as illusory as Santa Claus (who might indeed be an avatar in SL)?

All we can really agree on as Transhumanists is that we have (hopefully) non-dogmatic faith (but not absolute certainty) that Posthumanity and the Singularity will eventually emerge and I think we can work with religions of all non-dogmatic manifestations of established ritual-disciplines to find common ground...

In terms of semantics, I definitely agree with Extropia that the Singularity has been mis-interpreted as being "singular" for that would be dogmatic and working in a closed-system if only one aspect of transcendental innovation would be realized.

For the record, I am not at all in disagreement with Extropia.

My faith is her faith and I share the same frustration for others who enforce dogma upon us...I just hope that we can also be careful not to play the same game as the religious fundamentalists on only their terms... Fortunately for people like us, we have stated early on in our Transhumanist and Extropian manifestos that there is always room for our own improvement when it comes to understanding ourselves and our evolving place in the universe.

It is getting late for me in RL right now and my comments on James Sleeper's presentation is the longest in duration so I will need to conserve some energy (hours, days, weeks...) before I can begin to summarize his talk...

Current Mood: busy
12:24 am
Seminar on Transhumanism and Religion - Part 3 - Commentary...

Please forgive me for the long delay in developing Part 3 of my Miniseries on the recent Seminar on Transhumanism and Religion.

As soon as the conference floor had emptied itself of its attentive avatars, I had to discipline myself with virtually ascetic meditation, contemplation and research just to keep up with the ideas being presented forth by the four invited speakers to this conference.

Since Transhumanism/Posthumanism is an integral part of my personal philosophy, I wish to spend more blogging time than usual on this topic.

In fact, I may have to post a "Part 4" and even possibly "Part 5" to this miniseries down the road if I feel that I have not been able to discuss these topics properly.

At any rate, I wish to dive into my personal commentary of this transformative seminar beginning with the first speaker... Giulio Perhaps (aka. Giuio Prisco).

Firstly, Giulio has blogged the event himself at - http://transumanar.com/index.php/site/seminar_on_h_and_religion_in_sl/

The first thing that stuck me about Giulio's voice presentation was that he declared that there is no such thing as the "Supernatural" in our Metaverse. Giulio qualified this controversial statement by saying that all "nature" is "super". I agree with Giulio on this although from a subjective point of view, some events and phenomena certainly seem more "super" than conventionally "natural".

Emotions and sensations aside, I also agree with Giulio that the new religion of the 21st century and beyond should embrace the "supernatural" aesthetic of Transhumanity while at the same time having a firm "rational" base in understanding the truly superb nature of the divinely "natural".

Giulio was also on the ball with the concerns of the zeitgeist because he identified that without some sense of consolation and "meaning" behind Trans/Post Humanity, society as a whole (especially the Bio-Conservatives) would not embrace it.

For example, he argued that immortality is only desirable if your friends are also immortal and that you have (subjectively) worthwhile things to do with your life. There is a danger of taking one's lifespan for granted and losing a sense of meaning, urgency and accomplishment. From this, I hope that we can make as many people immortal as possible - even if it means uploading their individual consciousness into some hyperspatial dimension.

During question period, I asked Giulio in text-transmission mode:
"Do you feel that the culture of Transhumanists/Posthumanists in the future will be similar or even influenced by the Second Life civilization as a beta-test for how to conduct ourselves ethically and 'super'naturally in SL?"....

To my surprise, Giulio answered in voice-chat that he felt that Second Life was too Utopian and magickal a community to be seen as a direct beta-test for the kind of civilization that we should come to expect in the Posthuman era. He felt that SL was an escape from our everyday problems of suffering in contemporary RL and is therefore, not an accurate model of what RL in the future will look like.

I knew time was short during the seminar but for some reason, I did not come away satisfied with his answer...isn't Posthumanity promising the same kind of "(super)natural" situations that SL offers?

Also, isn't the Singulatarian Posthuman condition promising an end to all the material suffering (or our "daily problems" as he called it) in RL that is currently causing dissonence between RL and SL?

I am curious now to ask him more about what his impressions of SL are and why he believes that the transhumanesque culture we are currently living under in avatar form would not hold the key to what our society might look like in RL in the near future...

Current Mood: anxious
Wednesday, May 2nd, 2007
1:40 pm
Seminar on Transhumanism and Religion Part 2 - Mormonism...

Above is a picture of Ahman Hax (Lincoln Cannon) during his presentation of Transfigurism (Mormon Transhumanism) in Second Life...

If you are reading this posting, you probably have already read Part 1 which is available directly below the position of this posting about the Mormon component of the seminar that I attended on April 29, 2007.

Ahman Hax was the third speaker of the afternoon and he represents the Mormon Transhumanist Association from Salt Lake City, Utah (in RL).

Their webpage is http://transfigurism.org

I tried to add Elder Hax to my first posting about this seminar but Livejournal told me that my posting was too large to post...I guess that unedited chat-history took too much text-space. I felt it necessary to post the entire chat history in order to give you a fuller sense of the theoretical ambience permeating this well-attended meeting.

I had posted so many text characters in my previous posting that I was not even able to provide proper photo captions describing each slide at the event.... So now, I will be blogging a 3-part miniseries...

Unfortunately, I had to retreat from SL into the more secular and pre-posthumanist world of RL ("Real" Life) at this time so I was unable to stay for the length of Ahman Hax's presentation. Maybe I will be able to interview Elder Hax in person about the Mormon view of Transhumanism...

Here is the official view of the Transfigurist movement that I managed to locate on the FAQ of their main website...

"What is the Mormon Transhumanist Association?

The Mormon Transhumanist Association is an international nonprofit organization that promotes charitable and working faith in physical salvation, as outlined in the Mormon Transhumanist Affirmation. We are affiliated with the World Transhumanist Association and support the Transhumanist Declaration. Although we are neither a religious organization nor affiliated with any religious organization, we support our members in their personal religious affiliations, and encourage them to adapt Transhumanism to their unique situations.

What is the relationship between Mormonism and Transhumanism?

Few have recognized the relationship between Mormonism and Transhumanism. On the one hand, Mormonism is a spiritual ideology of the Judeo-Christian tradition that advocates faith in God leading to salvation. On the other hand, Transhumanism is a mostly secular ideology that advocates ethical use of technology to extend human capabilities. However, Mormonism and Transhumanism are parallel and complementary in their views of the future: rapidly advancing knowledge, imminent fundamental changes in human nature, and ultimate transcendence of our current limitations. We provide more details in a document, Parallels and Complements between Mormonism and Transhumanism, originally presented at the Sunstone Symposium in Salt Lake City on 11 August 2006."

I will discuss these views in more detail in my commentary section also known as "Part 3"... I hope to have this online before sunrise...

Despite not being able to focus on Elder Hax's intriguing presentation, I did manage to take a few pictures showing his slides but I was unable to scoop up any text-bytes from my chat history for you...

For this last picture below, you can also see a cameo by the First Speaker, Giulio Perhaps (Giulio Prisco)...

Current Mood: curious
11:45 am
Seminar on Transhumanism and Religion in Second Life...

My commentary of the event should be online later tonight...

Here is the press release and the documented archives from this most transformative and historical event...

Seminar on Transhumanism and Religion in Second Life
Sunday, April 29, 2007
10am SLT-PST, uvvy island in SL


Giulio Prisco, Executive Director, World Transhumanist Association . Giulio will summarize his article/book precis "Engineering Transcendence".
Most speakers will use audio streaming for presentations and answers to questions from the audience.

Extropia Dasilva , Fascinating and Mysterious Virtual Personality. Extropia is a "transhumanist avatar" who writes some of the best mind expanding stuff about first and second life, the universe and everything.

James Hughes, Executive Director, Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. James will present his paper "The Compatibility of Religious and Transhumanist Views of Metaphysics, Suffering, Virtue and Transcendence in an Enhanced Future".

Lincoln Cannon, President, Mormon Transhumanist Association

See also
First Speaker = Giulio Perhaps (Giulio Prisco)...
This speaker spoke mostly using the voice-chat transmission method...therefore, there is not much in the way of text-content...Giulio even answered my question in voice chat. I hope the audio from Giulio's voice lecture has been archived somewhere...here are some photos interspersed with the unedited chat-history...

[9:59] Lucifer Baphomet is Online
[10:02] Notecard Giver 1.1 gave you Seminar-announce.
[10:02] Alonzo Karas: my tweeters!
[10:02] Giulio Perhaps: I cannot hear myself cuz have SL audio volume off
[10:02] Giulio Perhaps: to avoid echo
[10:02] Sat Batra: howdy earl
[10:02] Alonzo Karas: My tweeters are $200 each!
[10:03] Manoj Undercity: G.. its 3 minutes past already
[10:03] Sat Batra thinks of piercing tweeters
[10:03] Khannea Suntzu: Oi
[[10:03] Extropia DaSilva: Yes
[10:03] Ahman Hax: yes
[10:03] Forrest Paster: Yes
[10:03] Khannea Suntzu: Yes Boss
[10:03] Rosamund Clary: You're loud and clear!
[10:03] Manoj Undercity: yes
[10:03] Forrest Paster: Sounds good; no feedback.
[10:03] Simanto Fitzcarraldo: yes i can hear you, even from the kitchen
[10:03] Alonzo Karas: use headphones.
[10:03] Simanto Fitzcarraldo: its all good
[10:03] Manoj Undercity: please sir Earl.. u r blocking screen
[10:03] Khannea Suntzu: Feedbacke seniore?
[10:03] Simanto Fitzcarraldo: loud and clear
[10:03] James Sleeper: good
[10:03] Xantha Oe: sound good
[10:03] Khannea Suntzu: Loude ende cleare?
[10:03] Manoj Undercity: im changing slides
[10:03] Jamie Marlin: All clear
[10:03] Tree Kyomoon: good sound
[10:04] Zentinal Ziskey: loud and clear!
[10:04] Manoj Undercity: yes G
[10:04] mike2050 Mill: I hear you OK.
[10:04] Tree Kyomoon: accent is a bit strange...perhaps ajust the accent knob?
[10:04] Khannea Suntzu: lol
[10:04] Zentinal Ziskey: ;-)
[10:04] JeanNoelandCharmian Balut shouts: We can hear you Giulio

[10:05] Sat Batra adjusts his babel fish
[10:05] Earl Enzyme: can someone please tell me how to get rid of all these friggin "name balloons"?
[10:05] Hyper Bright: edit > preferences
[10:05] Earl Enzyme: thx
[10:05] Hyper Bright: general > show names > never
[10:06] Earl Enzyme: thx HyperBright
[10:06] Manoj Undercity: sound broke
[10:07] Hyper Bright: you're welcome, earl. :)
[10:07] Manoj Undercity shouts: DONT TOUCH SLIDEBOARD PLEASE
[10:07] Manoj Undercity: /mg suspend
[10:08] Manoj Undercity: i will do it G
[10:08] Manoj Undercity: done now
[10:08] Nina Lancaster is Offline
[10:09] Manoj Undercity: its on
[10:11] IRC: IRC gateway muted
[10:11] Manoj Undercity: its on
[10:12] WhiteBoard (w): Now showing Image 1/53 - religionseminar
[10:12] Lock toggle: You cannot change lock mode - only AngryBeth Shortbread can.
[10:12] Manoj Undercity shouts: PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH SLIDESBOARD PLEASE

[10:12] WhiteBoard (w): Showing Image 6/20 - Slide5
[10:12] WhiteBoard (w): Showing Image 2/9 - Slide1
[10:12] Manoj Undercity: its on
[10:12] WhiteBoard (w): Showing Image 3/9 - Slide2
[10:13] Khannea Suntzu giggles
[10:14] WhiteBoard (w): Showing Image 7/20 - Slide6
[10:14] Manoj Undercity: its on
[10:14] WhiteBoard (w): Showing Image 4/9 - Slide3
[10:14] Nina Lancaster is Online
[10:15] WhiteBoard (w): Now showing Image 4/9 - Slide3
[10:15] IRC: IRC gateway enabled
[10:15] WhiteBoard (w): Showing Image 5/9 - Slide4
[10:15] WhiteBoard (w): Showing Image 8/20 - Slide7
[10:15] Manoj Undercity: its on
[10:16] Manoj Undercity: sound broken
[10:16] Manoj Undercity: ok
[10:16] Manoj Undercity: resumed
[10:17] Charles Gregoire: / cannot hear now
[10:17] Rosamund Clary: Sound?
[10:17] Sat Batra grins

[10:17] Manoj Undercity shouts: sound comes and goes sometimes...please dont worry
[10:17] Giulio Perhaps: ound ghas stopped
[10:17] Giulio Perhaps: because someone else tries to connect to server
[10:17] Giulio Perhaps: pplease don't
[10:17] Khannea Suntzu: If sound stops try stopping and restartying again
[10:17] Giulio Perhaps: 2 min please
[10:18] Khannea Suntzu: ok
[10:18] Extropia DaSilva: And the vision/ that was planted in my brain/ still remains/ within the sound of silence.
[10:18] Giulio Perhaps: sound has resumed
[10:18] Manoj Undercity: YEAH
[10:18] Ahman Hax: stop/start worked for me
[10:18] Extropia DaSilva: yes.
[10:18] Davos Desmoulins: yes
[10:18] Cryonica Artizar: yes
[10:18] Rosamund Clary: yes
[10:18] Forrest Paster: yes, I can hear now.
[10:18] Khannea Suntzu: y
[10:18] Tree Kyomoon: sound she is back on
[10:18] Simanto Fitzcarraldo: yes
[10:18] Simanto Fitzcarraldo: doh
[10:18] Khannea Suntzu: Yesse I can hier you egene
[10:18] Simanto Fitzcarraldo: yes
[10:19] WhiteBoard (w): Now showing Image 8/20 - Slide7
[10:19] Extropia DaSilva: I think it has gone again.
[10:19] Manoj Undercity shouts: u r a lovely audience today ! totally helping Giulio !

[10:19] Charles Gregoire: / back,. now gone again?
[10:19] Simanto Fitzcarraldo: confirmed
[10:19] Ahman Hax: i hear you
[10:19] Manoj Undercity: sound gone again
[10:19] Beatriz Nikolaidis: I dont hear
[10:19] Giulio Perhaps: hearing me OK I hope
[10:19] Simanto Fitzcarraldo: when we are transhuman do you think audio will work?
[10:19] Lifeboat Jewell: How do I remove the Orientation Island box from my screen? Close doesn't work.
[10:19] Simanto Fitzcarraldo: or is that a vague hope
[10:19] Ahman Hax: on now
[10:19] Hyper Bright: I hear you :)
[10:19] WhiteBoard (w): Showing Image 9/20 - Slide8
[10:20] Manoj Undercity: its on
[10:20] Beatriz Nikolaidis: sound ok now
[10:20] Remi Boehm: has it begun?
[10:20] Charles Gregoire: / can hear again
[10:20] Alonzo Karas: back again, computers suck.
[10:20] Hari Greene: i can't even play "music" any more. it won't let me switch it to "on" mode.
[10:20] Khannea Suntzu: Keep trying it will pop bac k
[10:20] Beatriz Nikolaidis: sounfd gone
[10:20] Alonzo Karas: gone again.
[10:20] WhiteBoard (w): Now showing Image 9/20 - Slide8
[10:20] Giulio Perhaps: sound gone again
[10:20] Hari Greene: got it back, good.
[10:20] Giulio Perhaps: 1 min
[10:20] Sat Batra: this, my friends, is why I will not early adopt a copy of myself to be uploaded.
[10:21] Sat Batra chortles
[10:21] Manoj Undercity: sound is back
[10:21] Zentinal Ziskey: :-D
[10:21] Manoj Undercity: speak G

[10:21] Beatriz Nikolaidis: sound again
[10:21] Forrest Paster: sound is back
[10:21] Simanto Fitzcarraldo: confirmed
[10:21] WhiteBoard (w): Showing Image 10/20 - Slide9
[10:21] Ahman Hax: sound is back
[10:21] Manoj Undercity: its on
[10:21] Simanto Fitzcarraldo: wohooo
[10:21] Khannea Suntzu giggles BDSM?
[10:21] IRC: IRC gateway muted
[10:21] Beatriz Nikolaidis: sound gone
[10:22] Extropia DaSilva: Is that guy strapped to the wheel someone who tried to attack the SL grid?
[10:22] Alonzo Karas: heheheheheheheheheheh
[10:22] WhiteBoard (w): Now showing Image 10/20 - Slide9
[10:22] Sat Batra: isn't the BDSM what you Windows users get when your OS crashes?
[10:22] WhiteBoard (w): Showing Image 11/20 - Slide10
[10:22] Manoj Undercity: its on
[10:23] Alonzo Karas: crap I spent too much reading chat to look at the side. =(
[10:23] IRC: IRC gateway enabled
[10:23] Alonzo Karas: takes long time to rez too.
[10:23] IRC: IRC gateway muted
[10:23] Manoj Undercity: sound stopped
[10:23] IRC: IRC gateway enabled
[10:23] WhiteBoard (w): Now showing Image 1/53 - religionseminar
[10:23] Manoj Undercity: it happens everytime IRC comes in i think
[10:23] Beatriz Nikolaidis: is there a way to see the slides?
[10:24] Sat Batra: the sound is droppong independant of the gateway to irc
[10:24] Manoj Undercity: please focus on slides using your camera Beatriz
[10:24] Manoj Undercity: go to view-camera controls
[10:24] Hyper Bright: Will these slides be availbe for download?
[10:24] Beatriz Nikolaidis: thanks
[10:24] yoda Fride: hallo piet garfield
[10:24] Manoj Undercity: no sound
[10:24] WhiteBoard (w): Now showing Image 5/9 - Slide4
[10:24] Sat Batra awakens
[10:25] WhiteBoard (w): Now showing Image 5/9 - Slide4
[10:25] WhiteBoard (w): Now showing Image 5/9 - Slide4
[10:25] Manoj Undercity: is back
[10:25] WhiteBoard (w): Now showing Image 11/20 - Slide10
[10:25] WhiteBoard (w): Showing Image 12/20 - Slide11
[10:25] Manoj Undercity: its o
[10:26] WhiteBoard (w): Now showing Image 12/20 - Slide11
[10:26] Lock toggle: You cannot change lock mode - only Giulio Perhaps can.
[10:26] Lock toggle: You cannot change lock mode - only Giulio Perhaps can.
[10:27] WhiteBoard (w): Now showing Image 5/9 - Slide4
[10:27] WhiteBoard (w): Now showing Image 5/9 - Slide4
[10:27] WhiteBoard (w): Now showing Image 1/53 - religionseminar
[10:27] Manoj Undercity: sound stopped
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[10:27] WhiteBoard (w): Now showing Image 1/53 - religionseminar
[10:27] Manoj Undercity: resumed
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[10:27] Manoj Undercity: its on
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[10:27] Emily Lang: stop and restart
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[10:29] Charles Gregoire: /audio lost again
[10:29] WhiteBoard (w): Now showing Image 5/9 - Slide4
[10:29] Charles Gregoire: /back
[10:29] Hyper Bright: Can we make it understood that sl will have these glitches and that all of us are losing audio. :)
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[10:29] WhiteBoard (w): Now showing Image 13/20 - Slide12
[10:29] Manoj Undercity: sound is back
[10:29] Hyper Bright: Just stop the music stream and start it again. :)
[10:30] Charles Gregoire: /kk were praised earlier for feedback, now hit on the nose *laughs*
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[10:30] Lock toggle: You cannot change lock mode - only Giulio Perhaps can.
[10:31] Khannea Suntzu: And my cat !
[10:31] Manoj Undercity: yeah
[10:31] Rain Coalcliff is Online
[10:31] Manoj Undercity: sound is back
[10:31] Beatriz Nikolaidis: yes
[10:31] Charles Gregoire: /can hear you now
[10:31] Jamie Marlin: I hear
[10:31] Manoj Undercity: sound gone
[10:31] Charles Gregoire: / on and off
[10:32] Hari Greene: comes and goes.
[10:32] Simanto Fitzcarraldo: confirmed
[10:32] Manoj Undercity: sound back
[10:32] WhiteBoard (w): Now showing Image 14/20 - Slide13
[10:32] Khannea Suntzu: Then we can bring back velociraptors too !
[10:32] James Sleeper: Not sure there is an easy way - just searching the orgs directory
[10:33] WhiteBoard (w): Showing Image 15/20 - Slide14
[10:33] Manoj Undercity: its on
[10:33] James Sleeper: The chapter has open membership - you can join
[10:33] Khannea Suntzu: Riverworld
[10:34] Zentinal Ziskey: my thought exactly
[10:34] Manoj Undercity throws a peanut at Dr.J, where else can i do it ? :P
[10:34] Charles Gregoire: / Spider Robinson has a book about this, Lifehouse I think it is called.
[10:34] James Sleeper: I'm a noob - not really sure
[10:34] Manoj Undercity: its on
[10:34] WhiteBoard (w): Showing Image 16/20 - Slide15
[10:34] Qyxxql Merlin: ok, that you, James :-)
[10:34] Khannea Suntzu: And you dont get back once - millions of times, some good, some real bad
[10:35] Qyxxql Merlin: *thank you
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[10:35] Manoj Undercity: its on
[10:35] Manoj Undercity: sound gone
[10:35] Manoj Undercity: resumed
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[10:36] Manoj Undercity: its on
[10:36] Khannea Suntzu: My place in the big universe is on my knees
[10:36] Extropia DaSilva: No problem it is on.
[10:36] Tree Kyomoon: sound on
[10:37] Khannea Suntzu: A convient fiction, packaged with a soundtrack CD
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[10:38] Forrest Paster: What about those who are already out there?
[10:38] WhiteBoard (w): Showing Image 20/20 - Slide19
[10:38] Rosamund Clary: Let's hope we do better than last time.
[10:38] Manoj Undercity shouts: Q and A sesssion follows immediatley following his speech
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[10:39] WhiteBoard (w): Now showing Image 1/53 - religionseminar
[10:40] Manoj Undercity: Lifeboat.. please sit down... lots of seats available
[10:40] Manoj Undercity: u could even float !
[10:40] Manoj Undercity: sound gone
[10:40] Khannea Suntzu: For more information, read "toxic memes" of the gurps "transhuman space" series.
[10:40] Tree Kyomoon: sound is fine
[10:40] Giulio Perhaps: questions please sound will resume
[10:40] Manoj Undercity: resumed
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[10:41] Forrest Paster: Will the slides be available for download?
[10:41] Hyper Bright: I have a question.
[10:41] Manoj Undercity shouts: Giulio answers via voice to ur text questions
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[10:41] Giulio Perhaps: listening to hyper
[10:42] Hyper Bright: If we take up the stance that religion is a delusion, what could be a viable argument against someone who says "I have the right to believe" or "don't take my religion away from me?"
[10:42] Alonzo Karas: Religeon is inherantly dangerous. Jeusus tried to create a religeon of peace and love. . Same with Mohamed, same with all the others.

[10:42] Khannea Suntzu: Question: is the danger of alienating non-transhumanists more likely than actually doing objective good by trying to engineer the memetic aspects of established religion?
[10:42] Qyxxql Merlin: do you feel that the culture of Transhumanists/Posthumanists in the future will be similar or even influenced by the Second Life civilization as a beta-test for how to conduct ourselves ethically and "super"naturally in SL?
[10:42] Manoj Undercity: sound is gone
[10:42] Hyper Bright: Will an alternative solution need to be presented at the same time we demand an end to religion?
[10:42] Manoj Undercity: resumed
[10:42] mike2050 Mill: Question: please speculate on the time-line for the Manifest Destiny you described?
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[10:43] WhiteBoard (w): This is the Last Slide
[10:43] Hyper Bright: But monotheism has an enormous history in creating wars.
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[10:43] Lock toggle: You cannot change lock mode - only Giulio Perhaps can.
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[10:43] Charles Gregoire: / How do you imagine the future matrix of all life being stored and computaionally supported? Will there be any distinction between past and present consciousness? If not, will future consciousness also be supported? In such a world, it seems like consciousness itself, learning, growing, and even life changes meaning substantially when all possibilities are in a 4D matrix aware of itself forward/backward in time.
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[10:44] Hyper Bright: but is that happiness justifiable, given the damage it does to the world?
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[10:44] Tree Kyomoon: knowledge will kill religion, we dont need to actively do anything but educate and make advances scientifically no?
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[10:44] Hyper Bright: Tree, that sounds plausible. :)
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[10:44] Tree Kyomoon: that is why the bible taught that the "tree of knowlege" was evil
[10:44] Forrest Paster raises hand
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[10:45] Hyper Bright: oooo.. Tree, I have never heard of that thought before....
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[10:45] Hyper Bright: It's... astounding. :)
[10:45] Remi Boehm: religion is not only a belief system, it's a code of conduct giving meaing to our actions now. Whatwill be the
[10:45] Khannea Suntzu: What Giulio proposes is to manipulate established religions in a peaceful manner. Give it ideas. These methods are necessary to lead lay-people towards a better future.
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[10:45] Philippe Golding is Offline
[10:45] Tree Kyomoon: faith is the opposite of knowledge...
[10:45] Remi Boehm: transhumanist deeds. what will be the rituals?
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[10:45] Jamie Marlin: People who wish to hate can always find an excuse... if not religion, then race... or hair color... Abolishing religion will not abolish hate.
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[10:45] Sat Batra falls into a deep meditation.
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[10:46] Forrest Paster: Are the hope of resurrection and immortality the only benefits of religion? The only reason for it to exist?
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[10:47] Tree Kyomoon: the benefit of religion is the same as the benefit of ignorance....bliss ?
[10:48] Khannea Suntzu: Religion is a patch for a flawed, erratically evolved cognition
[10:48] Charles Gregoire: / SL can be a good medium for education, experimentaing, learning, teaching the next generation and this one, to try to find ways to transition to these new ways of finding happiness and hope even now. *looks around and sees the proof it can happen*
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[10:48] Scope Cleaver: ( How long before that he said)?
[10:48] WhiteBoard (w): Now showing Image 2/20 - Slide1
[10:48] Extropia DaSilva: Do not assume that all people who hold religios beliefs are ignorant. Only the ignorant would make a statement like that.
[10:49] Khannea Suntzu: Relgion is a very complex, highly intelligent cognitive system based on a flawed assumption.
[10:49] Ahman Hax: THANKS!
[10:49] Forrest Paster appauds
[10:49] Charles Gregoire: / ty Giulio
[10:49] Lucifer Darrow applauds
[10:49] Ahman Hax: excellent
[10:49] Emily Lang: thank you as well
[10:49] Tree Kyomoon: to the extent one holds to religion is the extent to which they are ignorant, you can hold religion only allegorically or symbolically
[10:49] Rosamund Clary: Thanks, Giulio!
[10:49] Khannea Suntzu: /cheer
[10:49] Extropia DaSilva: Ok thanks..
[10:49] Beatriz Nikolaidis: thanks
[10:49] James Sleeper: thanks giulio
[10:49] Vinzent Beaumont: thanks
[10:49] Tree Kyomoon: cheer!~
[10:49] Simanto Fitzcarraldo: thank you giulio
[10:49] Woppercyb Nagy: gracias
[10:49] Remi Boehm: thanks

Second Speaker = Extropia DaSilva... Extropia was a very articulate avatar who delighted us with her bountiful factoids about the post-human condition and the current rate of evolution within our off-world civilization...One can see how far we have come in Second Life with regards to our rate of evolutionary mode of transcendence....My guess is that she has evolved so quickly and intensely that she must have gone all the way and uploaded her entire off-world consciousness into the Second Life server...this must be why her avatar is so disciplined and devoted to Transhumanist Enlightenment...I am in awe! She is definitely a role-model for how I wish to personally evolve...Again, here are some pictures interspersed with the chat history...

Photo by Miulew Takahe.

[10:49] Qyxxql Merlin: /clap
[10:49] Extropia DaSilva: Well the good news is, no vocal means no sound problems:)
[10:49] Soren Ferlinghetti: /clap
[10:49] Sat Batra whistles and cheers like a red neck at a monster truck rally.
[10:49] Simanto Fitzcarraldo applauds Extropia
[10:49] Scope Cleaver: Yay text, the most reliable way to communicate in SL so far!
[10:49] Khannea Suntzu: Cool ! Extropia is way hawter than Giulio
[10:50] Manoj Undercity: LOL Scope
[10:50] Manoj Undercity: Extropia.. please face audience
[10:50] Earl Enzyme: /howls
[10:50] Extropia DaSilva: Ok, I am not going to have too much to say about religion, as theology is not my area of expertise..
[10:50] Qyxxql Merlin: :-)
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[10:50] WhiteBoard (w): Now showing Image 2/20 - Slide1
[10:50] Manoj Undercity: thank u
[10:50] Alonzo Karas: NOTE TO PPL, you must wear expressions before you can /use them.
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[10:50] WhiteBoard (w): Now showing Image 2/20 - Slide1
[10:50] WhiteBoard (w): Now showing Image 2/20 - Slide1
[10:50] Extropia DaSilva: :) that better?
[10:50] Lock toggle: You cannot change lock mode - only Giulio Perhaps can.
[10:50] Sat Batra: nice legs
[10:50] Jamie Marlin: Yes!
[10:50] Manoj Undercity: yep yep

[10:51] Extropia DaSilva: The talk I am presenting today is called ‘Climbing Technological Mount Improbable’, which mostly concentrates on cumulative and convergent knowledge, and how they are very likely to frustrate techno-luddism and fundamentalism.
[10:51] Tree Kyomoon: you can hold religion only allegorically or symbolically...but still keep the intelligent parts of your mind separate, and many people do that, so no a "moderately religious person " is not necessarily ignorant
[10:51] Extropia DaSilva: From the Inquisition placing Gallileo under house arrest, to the Scopes Monkey Trial, there have been examples throughout history of dogma standing in the way of scientific knowledge.
[10:51] Extropia DaSilva: Transhumanists know only too well the frustration that must have been felt by those individuals whose ideas have been attacked on the basis of contradicting entrenched dogma.
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[10:51] Woppercyb Nagy: ¿ya se terminó?
[10:52] Extropia DaSilva: It also seems that, where transhumanism is concerned, fundamentalism has a certain advantage over its predecessors. I mean, if you hold the belief that our planetary system has the Earth at its centre, and not the sun, the objective truth will ultimately be determined, since we are talking about an outcome of physical laws laid down tens of billions of years before human beings existed.
[10:52] Lock toggle: You cannot change lock mode - only Giulio Perhaps can.
[10:52] Philippe Golding is Online
[10:52] Extropia DaSilva: Fundamentalists could deny the objective truth, but could not actually rewrite the physical laws of nature and inevitably their folly was exposed.
[10:52] Extropia DaSilva: But transhumanism is somewhat different. It IS in our control, we DO have an active influence in the direction technology heads. This was the take-home message of Bill McKibben’s book ‘Enough’. Literally, that society could, if enough people wish it, decide that we need not guide technology down roads that lead to a fundamental redesign of the human species.
[10:53] Extropia DaSilva: While McKibben wrote his book, and while I read it, there were several companies and organizations explicitly working on technologies that will usher in the radical future. As well as providing the research and development required to realise transhumanist dreams, I believe they serve the purpose of giving false hopes to those groups who stand opposed to these goals.
[10:53] Khannea Suntzu: Dream on Nad
[10:53] Extropia DaSilva: This sense of security comes in two forms. Firstly, the difference between what would be required to realise nanotechnology, negligible senescence and strong AI, and what represents today’s state-of-the-art…well the gap seems so huge it is foolish to believe such breakthroughs can happen in a lifetime.
[10:54] Extropia DaSilva: So it seems! Secondly, when it seems a breakthrough is likely, the opponents no doubt think they can prevent it. All they need do is get the public on their side and lobby for the closure of these organizations, and we will all go back to life As It Was Meant To Be (copyright, Leon Kass).
[10:54] WhiteBoard (w): Showing Image 2/20 - Slide1
[10:54] Extropia DaSilva: I did say these were false hopes, and the reason I believe this is so is because I see the radical future emerging, not so much because of a few institutions explicitly working on it, but because it is the inevitable outcome of cumulative and convergent knowledge.
[10:54] Miulew Takahe is Online
[10:54] Extropia DaSilva: D’you remember how Velociraptors hunted in ‘Jurrassic Park’? One distracting its prey’s attention while more sneaked up on it from behind? That is what companies explicitly working on GRIN technologies are like. They direct the attention of luddite groups, get them focused on one narrow area, and while they are distracted technology as a whole can sneak up.
[10:55] Sat Batra cheers
[10:55] Extropia DaSilva: Now, I do not believe that this is an intentional strategy of these organizations. It is just that they give the impression that nanotech etc is the pre-determined goal of centralized institutions. But the majority of inventors, companies and organizations have no interest on explicitly realising transhumanist goals. They only wish to research and impliment sensible, reasonable upgrades to existing tools and services. It is this ongoing effort, the desire to provide better medicine, more efficient manufacturing, software a bit smarter than last generation’s, that the goals of transhumanism will actually arise from.
[10:55] Philippe Golding is Offline
[10:55] Khannea Suntzu: /cheer !
[10:55] Extropia DaSilva: Keep your eye fixed on the likes of Zyvex, or the Singularity Institute, and you are probably going to miss the direction from which GRIN tech really comes!
[10:56] Extropia DaSilva: But when it does seem that breakthroughs are near, a public scared by such extreme tech will give weight to Luddite calls for relinquishment, right? Actually, I think a propper consideration of ‘cumulative’ knowledge shows the answer to be ‘no’.
[10:56] Extropia DaSilva: Cummulative knowledge is most eloquently explained by Richard Dawkins as ‘climbing Mount Improbable’. In his own words, ‘one side of the mountain is a sheer cliff, impossible to climb, but the other side is a gentle slope to the summit. On the summit sits a complex device’.
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[10:56] Khannea Suntzu: Ye pot of gold yarrr
[10:56] Sat Batra: arrrr
[10:57] Extropia DaSilva: Dawkins is of course talking about products of natural selection and how nature pulled off the trick of putting together natural machines that seem to have been designed by an intelligent ‘watchmaker’. But I think ‘Mount Improbable’ serves equally well as an explanation to this question: ‘Why, in a world full of technology quite dazzling compared to what was available in the past, do forcastes of future technology sound too incredible to believe’?
[10:57] Extropia DaSilva: The answer is that these forecastes make a metaphorical leap up the sheer cliff-face of Mount Improbable. But present technologies got where they are today via a gentle climb up its slope. A case in point: Try to imagine that this is 1985. In this year, Apple have a third-party hard drive available, which retails at $2000.
[10:57] Extropia DaSilva: For that money, you get something almost as big as a shoebox with a total capacity of 10 megabytes. Now try to imagine the skepticism that would greet a suggestion that, one day, a hard-drive-based device would usurp the Sony Walkman as the most popular portable music player.
[10:58] Sat Batra notes in horror that he has a mullet
[10:58] Extropia DaSilva: I mean, come on! Wired’s Steven Levy commented, ‘ha! The entire capacity (was) insufficient to store the MP3 file of Neil Young’s ‘down by the river” . You might as well put a personal CD player and a bunch of Cds in a shoebox and lug that about! Darn sight cheaper than a hard drive, non?
[10:58] Khannea Suntzu: Thou musteth be gesting, daresay
[10:58] Extropia DaSilva: Ok, so who has an iPod?
[10:58] Sat Batra raises his hand
[10:59] Charles Gregoire: / I have 3
[10:59] Sat Batra: I had two but they broke
[10:59] Extropia DaSilva: And who, when they first saw an iPod, nearly fainted and was carted off intoning ‘Ohmigod it had a capacity of 5 GIGS! Squeezed into a hard drive small enough to swallow!! And they manufactured those drives for tens of dollars! Tens! As opposed to thousands!!!’? I bet the answer is, ‘not many’.
[10:59] Beatriz Nikolaidis: i have 2
[10:59] Jamie Marlin: Naw - YESTERDAY's tech.
[10:59] Tree Kyomoon: I have a pocket pc that could play vidoes and mp3s 10 years ago
[10:59] Emily Lang raises hand too

[10:59] Extropia DaSilva: Why? Because generally speaking people do not compare the latest technology with the first of its kind, but rather with the technology of the generation immediately preceeding it. Let’s assume the Toshiba hard drive in the original iPod was at step ‘N’ for storage technologies and the 1985 brick was stage ‘C’. Obviously compared to step ‘C’, a hard drive at step ‘N’ will be a very significant, even a dazzling, improvement.
[10:59] Charles Gregoire: / gradual acclimation, yes
[10:59] Earl Enzyme I have a pocket meatpuppet that sings all the latest tunes to me
[11:00] Extropia DaSilva: But hardly anyone judges it against step ‘C’. They judge it against step ‘M’ and from there it was not much of a leap at all. Just the next generation. As sensible as the step from ‘C’ to ‘D’.
[11:00] Khannea Suntzu freaks
[11:00] Giulio Perhaps is Online
[11:00] Jamie Marlin: Come sit down, Extropia!
[11:00] Khannea Suntzu: Oh my god I saw his penis
[11:00] Sat Batra: oi! someone boot the fat guy!
[11:01] Extropia DaSilva: Ok I can talk from here.
[11:01] Manoj Undercity: lol Extropia
[11:01] Extropia DaSilva: Ok, so now consider Hugo de Garis’s comment. If memory serves, he pointed out that a grain of sand was sufficient space to build a computer a billion times more powerful than a human brain. Something like that.
[11:01] Khannea Suntzu: Sit there
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[11:01] Extropia DaSilva: He then wondered what would happen if that super-duper nanocomputer were installed in the brain of your next door neighbour? She would be Homo-Superior! Wars would break out between Artilects and Terrans (unaugmented people)!
[11:01] Giulio Perhaps: kicked this guy out
[11:02] Extropia DaSilva: I have command of the floor again!
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[11:02] Manoj Undercity: wow
[11:02] Tree Kyomoon: I think that was Pat Robertson trying to shut us down
[11:02] Alonzo Karas: I'm 3 parapgraphs behind.
[11:02] Sat Batra: heh
[11:02] Extropia DaSilva: Ok, so now consider Hugo de Garis’s comment. If memory serves, he pointed out that a grain of sand was sufficient space to build a computer a billion times more powerful than a human brain. Something like that. He then wondered what would happen if that super-duper nanocomputer were installed in the brain of your next door neighbour? She would be Homo-Superior! Wars would break out between Artilects and Terrans (unaugmented people)!
[11:02] Soren Ferlinghetti: i think you should sit on the big robo-spider throne, extropia.
[11:03] Extropia DaSilva: Sorry, this is wrong. De Garis made a metaphorical leap up Mount Improbable, all the way to the summit or stage ‘Z‘. But by the time we have designed and mass-produced version 2.0 of the human brain, we will already have produced version 1.99, 1.98 and so on, giving a smooth gradient all the way down to current neuroprosthesis such as artificial retinas and cochlears.
[11:03] Sat Batra nods
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[11:03] Extropia DaSilva: I do not think enough people appreciate that the incredible technologies described by transhumanists actually arise from many thousands of tiny advances that ocurr each day. By the time version 2.0 of the human brain emerges from vapourware, it will be judged, not as a terrifyingly large leap in cognitive ability, but simply a mundane upgrade from stage ‘Y’, the previous generation of brain augmentation.
[11:04] Extropia DaSilva shouts: What I am saying is, when GRIN technologies actually fulfill transhumanist dreams they will not be radical and scary, they will just be the next sensible step. But all this talk of progressing from B to C to D makes it sound as if we climb Mount Improbable through linear steps.
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[11:04] Forrest Paster: Like the "irreducible complexity" arguments of ID.
[11:04] Extropia DaSilva shouts: I am sure you are all aware of Kurzweil’s Law Of Accelerating Returns and what it says about ‘intuitive linear beliefs’, no need to go into all that. Instead, I will now talk about ‘convergent’ knowledge and how it may propell us far further up Mount Improbable than we might suppose.
[11:05] Manoj Undercity: yep they can all hear u now
[11:05] Extropia DaSilva shouts: Convergent knowledge is when one branch of knowledge comes to influence a seemingly separate area, regardless of the fact that they would appear to have nothing in common. Take, for example, the disease rabies and artificial intelligence. You would be hard-pressed to see any connection between the two, huh?
[11:05] Drown Pharaoh is Online
[11:05] Extropia DaSilva shouts: Ah, but researchers have modified the virus that causes rabies, thereby turning it into a tool that can cross the synaptic space of a targeted cell just once to identify all the neurons to which it is directly connected. The researchers who developed this point out that it will ‘offer us an unprecedented view of the brain’. And I am guessing that we all know the relationship between reverse-engineering the brain and developing strong AI.
[11:06] Extropia DaSilva shouts: Another example. If you study the life-cycle of insects, you would perhaps not think your research would end up helping Parkinson’s Disease sufferers. But, according to New Scientist, ‘Rheogene…has come up with a technique that might address concerns (of the safety of a drug for Parkinson’s called GDNF). It has developed a safety switch that should allow GDNF to be delivered to the brain by gene therapy, precisely controlling the amount produced. The switch is based on the receptor for ecydsone, the hormone that makes insects shed their external skeletons’.
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[11:06] Extropia DaSilva shouts: How on Earth do you make the leap from a hormone that makes insects shed their external skeleton, to a safety switch for gene therapy? Well, consider what the software tool Geneways can do. ‘It reads tens of thousands of scientific papers and files information automatically on a database.
[11:07] Extropia DaSilva shouts: In response to a query about a certain molecular pathway, the database can then define how that molecule relates to others, a process that allows the discovery of new molecular interactions and pathways’.
[11:07] Cosmopolitan whispers: Sky Lounge thanks you
[11:07] Khannea Suntzu: title white
[11:07] Extropia DaSilva shouts: I don’t know if this is how Parkinson’s researchers came to learn that ecydsone would make an effective safety switch or not, but it does highlight the fact that we are able to tie together increasingly large and diverse areas of scientific knowledge, and turn this mess of information into easily-searchable and accessible data.
[11:07] WhiteBoard (w): Showing Image 8/9 - Slide7
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[11:08] WhiteBoard (w): Showing Image 3/9 - Slide2
[11:08] WhiteBoard (w): Showing Image 2/9 - Slide1
[11:08] WhiteBoard (w): Showing Image 1/9 - religionseminar
[11:08] WhiteBoard (w): This is the First Slide
[11:08] WhiteBoard (w): This is the First Slide
[11:08] WhiteBoard (w): This is the First Slide
[11:08] WhiteBoard (w): This is the First Slide
[11:08] Extropia DaSilva shouts: Apply cumulative knowledge to something like Google, and perhaps you ultimately get smart software tools that can read billions of journals and blogs, listen in on all the chatter of the scientific community, and in microseconds see in that complex web answers to intractable problems no human could ever perceive, even if they spent a lifetime studying the data on the Web.
[11:08] WhiteBoard (w): This is the First Slide
[11:08] WhiteBoard (w): This is the First Slide
[11:08] WhiteBoard (w): This is the First Slide
[11:08] WhiteBoard (w): Now showing Image 1/9 - religionseminar

[11:08] Extropia DaSilva shouts: Vernor Vinge well understands the potential. ‘We need to extend the capabilities of search engines and social networks to produce services that can bridge barriers created by technical jargon and forge links between unrelated specialities, bringing research groups with complimentary problems and solutions together’.
[11:08] Charles Gregoire: / The Final Encyclopedia, by Dickson
[11:09] Extropia DaSilva shouts: Vinge can rest assured that, yes, search engines and social networks are evolving to meet these criteria. And we transhumanists can rest assured that convergent knowledge will make the fundamentalist dream of halting technological progress practically impossible. Why? Because it will be impossible to predict how and why, when and if, any seemingly innocuous research will amount to a spark sending a fire of convergent knowledge spreading through cyberspace, from which breakthrough answers to GRIN technologies will arise.
[11:09] WhiteBoard (w): Showing Image 1/20 - religionseminar
[11:09] Extropia DaSilva shouts: Consider the following fields: Material sciences, mechanical engineering, physics, life sciences, chemistry, biology, electrical engineering, computer science and IT. Some are clearly related to others, some have no relationship, right? Wrong. They ALL related to the field of nanotechnology. And because all these fields converge on nanotech, research in any one of these areas could result in breakthroughs for molecular nanotechnology.
[11:09] WhiteBoard (w): Now showing Image 1/20 - religionseminar
[11:09] Extropia DaSilva: It might be clearly related, like a biologist reverse-engineering a biological nanomotor like that of the Flagellum bacteria. But equally, a solution might take the form of an emergent pattern of a billion research topics, comments and insights, spread across all the disciplines in a complex web of cause-and-effect.
[11:10] Drown Pharaoh accepted your inventory offer.
[11:10] Extropia DaSilva shouts: Possibly, no single document or comment has anything to do with Drexlerian nanotechnology per se, it is just that a solution to some intractible problem becomes obvious to deeply-networked research groups who are aided by software tools that find possible solutions emerging from other, perhaps seemingly unrelated, areas of science and which then translate the specialised language used by one group into that used by another.
[11:10] WhiteBoard (w): Now showing Image 1/53 - religionseminar
[11:10] Extropia DaSilva shouts: How can the luddites REALLY hope to stop the emergence of nanotech? How, when it is emerging out of so many diverse fields? To do so, they would have to go as far as telling shampoo manufacturers they can no longer research new formulas, lest their chemists open up a pathway to molecular manufacturing!
[11:11] WhiteBoard (w): Now showing Image 1/9 - religionseminar
[11:11] WhiteBoard (w): Now showing Image 1/9 - religionseminar
[11:11] Khannea Suntzu: Well I am sure if I really try I can stop an avalanche
[11:11] Extropia DaSilva shouts: Given the power of cumulative and convergent knowledge, I think a strong case can be made regarding the ultimate inevitability of the eventual realisation of transhumanist goals in AI, nanotechnology etc. These are, after all, the outcome of trends whose continuation is essential for the future survival of human civilization:
[11:11] Extropia DaSilva shouts: Understanding the body and brain at the molecular level upwards. Supported by overwhelming need to alleviate suffering from disease and senescence, we are reverse-engineering the tools needed to understand the mechanisms behind the many terrible ailments that inflict needless misery on unfortunate people and so design effective countermeasures. Such research is also yielding valuable insights for understanding the principles of intelligence, and molecular nanotechnology.
[11:11] BiGSiN Wormser falls into a deep meditation.
[11:11] WhiteBoard (w): Now showing Image 1/9 - religionseminar
[11:12] Extropia DaSilva shouts: Refining the manufacturing process, a great necessity considering the fact we have finite material resources to work from. Every step towards refining the manufacturing process is progress towards manipulating matter with atomic precision.
[11:12] Extropia DaSilva: Improving the reliability and user-friendliness of IT technology, by learning how to give software more autonomy, and to intelligently work with people, thereby minimizing those infuriating moments when we must dumb down our intelligence to account to for the stupidity of machines.
[11:13] Extropia DaSilva shouts: Of course these noble efforts are going to continue, but I do not wish to encourage complacency. Fundamentalism may not be able to permanently halt technological progress, but it can temporarily frustrate it. We see this happening today with regards to biotechnology. The public is largely distrustful of GM. Markets have to cater for consumerist tastes and the public’s distrust of, say, eating cloned beef, is a formidable force and an obstacle that we need to address. But how?
[11:13] Khannea Suntzu: Placate and humor
[11:13] Extropia DaSilva shouts: I believe the answer lies in educating the layperson, so that it is understood that much of the negative publicity surrounding GM is more propoganda than fact. There is a great deal of misinformation regarding transhumanism and its many tools, so much in fact that I can only deal with a couple here. I have mentioned cloned beef, so I will point out that anybody who claims they would not want to eat it does not appreciate that he or she has almost certainly done so already.
[11:13] WhiteBoard (w): Now showing Image 1/9 - religionseminar
[11:13] WhiteBoard (w): Now showing Image 1/9 - religionseminar
[11:13] WhiteBoard (w): Now showing Image 1/9 - religionseminar
[11:14] Extropia DaSilva shouts: The meat industry has long used a technique called ‘budding’, whereby technicians separate the undifferentiated cells in a fertilized cow egg that has undergone several divisions. This technique can yield hundreds of artificially-induced twins which are all clones are at the end of the day.
[11:14] WhiteBoard (w): Now showing Image 1/9 - religionseminar
[11:14] Extropia DaSilva shouts: It needs to be understood the extent to which all our food is largely a product of human- rather than purely natural- selection. All our farm animals and all our crops resulted from artificial manipulation of genetic material, using techniques that were far less controlled and refined than modern GM practices. But refined does not equal ‘flawless’.
[11:14] Nina Lancaster is Offline
[11:14] Extropia DaSilva shouts: We advocates of GM need to be open in admitting that some products will do more harm than good. But the current zero tolerence attitude toward biotechnology is plain silly. Imagine if the Thalidamide tragedy had resulted in intense pressure, not just to ban that particular drug, but to close down the entire pharmaceutical industry. Of course, such a demand would be ludicrous but that is precisely what we see regarding GM technology.
[11:15] Khannea Suntzu: You mean SATAN technology, right?
[11:15] Extropia DaSilva shouts: Let us preach the more sensible approach of dealing with each GM product on a case-by-case basis. Let us not disregard any legitimate safety concerns but rely only on scientific facts, not propoganda.
[11:15] Extropia DaSilva shouts: I want to address one more criticism of transhumanism, one that I have often ecountered. Namely, that we look down our noses at human beings. You read this time and again in anti-transhumanist propoganda: That we are full of self-loathing regarding ourselves and cannot wait to replace humanity with an ill-defined technological successor. Such a viewpoint seemingly cannot appreciate that you can admire something and understand its flaws at the same time.
[11:16] Manoj Undercity: wow
[11:16] Extropia DaSilva shouts: I mean, I fully appreciate the incredible craftsmanship that went into making a Neolithic flint axe, but at the same time I understand how crude stone-age tools are in comparison to a modern intergrated circuit. I know that the people who crafted flint tools had minds every bit as sophisticated as the average contemporary adult.
[11:16] Khannea Suntzu: I have a problem with my flawed ass
[11:16] Charles Gregoire: / or that you can love something, and want it to grow deeper, richer, to more than it is
[11:16] Extropia DaSilva shouts: Our vastly improved technological mastery is a result of us inheriting an immense body of cumulative knowledge. There really is nothing contrary about admiring the ingenuity, the wonderful ability, of humans past and present, but at the same time appreciating how crude we are compared to what is technically possible.
[11:16] Sat Batra: spouses come to mind
[11:17] Extropia DaSilva shouts: It really does not need a genius to see where all these goals, each one of which has many, many justifications for its continued R+D, is headed. It is headed toward the radical future, the summit of Mount Improbable. Near that summit, we shall see Genetics, Robotics, Information technology and Nanotechnology, which are driven by many diverse disciplines, go on to converge at a single point right at the top. The summit of human technological progress, beyond which only POST-humans- “mind children” as Moravec called them- can tread.
[11:17] Extropia DaSilva shouts: This seems to fit nicely with the notion that we are heading for a ‘technological singularity’, which is a term that refers to engineered intelligence that surpasses natural intelligence in all respects. That, by the way, is the only correct definition, and as Micheal Anissmov pointed out, ‘other definitions, focusing on the acceleration of technological change, the greater global cooperation of human beings, and so on, are contortions of the original definition, made up after the fact’.
[11:17] Khannea Suntzu: The mountain becomes a skyhook !
[11:17] WhiteBoard (w): Now showing Image 1/9 - religionseminar
[11:17] Extropia DaSilva shouts: Unfortunately, people have mistaken speculations regarding the consequences of engineered super intelligence for definitions of the singularity itself, and many of these speculations have clear parallels with religious ‘rapture’. Therefore, the singularity has become warped into an inevitable future event in which the true-believers ascend to paradise. This is a notion that really needs to be prevented from spreading its meme, because it feeds our innate desire to believe in the existence of a higher power that will solve our problems for us.
[11:18] WhiteBoard (w): Now showing Image 1/9 - religionseminar
[11:18] Extropia DaSilva shouts: Now, I am not going to speculate on the existence of God, except to point out that there is actually such a smooth continuum from atheistic science to theistic religion, that it is actually very difficult to define where one ends and the other begins. But I can make a definite statement regarding the existence of the technological singularity. Physically, singularities have no existence.
[11:18] Extropia DaSilva shouts: They are, after all, merely metaphores for a current lack of knowledge. The ‘singularity’ at the centre of black holes or at the moment of the Big Bang will vanish in a flash of mathematical clarity as soon as we have a working theory of quantum gravity. Similarly, any mind that is engineered for super intelligence is not going to perceive a technological singularity, because that is a metaphore for the existence of concepts fundamentally ungraspable to unaugmented minds.
[11:18] Alonzo Karas: SLOW DOWN!!!
[11:19] Extropia DaSilva shouts: I think it is worth asking if the term ‘singularity’ has unfortunate similarities with the word ‘singular’ and therefore implies a single technological breakthrough that propels us to post-humanity. I think that is as misleading as the quest for ‘the’ origin of life.
[11:19] Manoj Undercity: Alonzo.... please refer to chat history. we will make a transcript available
[11:19] Extropia DaSilva shouts: Such a quest encourages us to define an absolute definition for ‘life’ and ‘nonlife’ when, in fact, the transition from one to the other was a progressive hierarchy of steps leading from a pre-biotic Earth enriched in organic molecules to cellular life. It is decidedly arbitrary to pin down the exact moment when any system of gradually increasing complexity becomes ‘alive’.
[11:20] Extropia DaSilva shouts: Dawkin’s Mount Improbable has no definite point marking the arrival of ‘life’, and ‘technological mount improbable’ has no definitive point marking the emergence of ‘post-humanity’.
[11:20] Giulio Perhaps: extro can you accelerate a bit - next speaker must leave at some point
[11:20] Extropia DaSilva: Oh OK I will cut this short..
[11:21] Charles Gregoire: / you ran late Giulio, not far to Extro
[11:21] Charles Gregoire: / fair
[11:21] WhiteBoard (w): Now showing Image 1/9 - religionseminar
[11:21] WhiteBoard (w): Now showing Image 1/9 - religionseminar
[11:21] Giulio Perhaps: know that!
[11:21] Extropia DaSilva: So I go on about some stuff which is kind of cool and then...
[11:21] Slide Show: Please tell me in seconds how long between each slide, Lifeboat Jewell
[11:21] Sat Batra is finding tthis talk stimulating
[11:21] Extropia DaSilva shouts: If the technological Singularity is not the summit of Mount Improbable after all, one might ask what is. Will science reveal the answer? Or maybe philosophy? Perhaps theology? Or should we conjecture that these are all manifestations of a grander overarching conceptual framework that we currently cannot comprehend, but may come to appreciate as we ascend to a state that might appropriately be defined as ‘God’? I like to think so!
[11:21] Slide Show: No entry - returning to active mode
[11:21] Jamie Marlin agrees
[11:21] Lock toggle: You cannot change lock mode - only Giulio Perhaps can.
[11:22] Khannea Suntzu: Archangel is good enough for me. Even Afreet.
[11:22] Extropia DaSilva: Ok That is it. Questions?
[11:22] Khannea Suntzu: Yes
[11:22] Lucifer Darrow applauds enthusiastically
[11:22] Forrest Paster raises hand
[11:22] Charles Gregoire: / wow we fell off the cliff there, ending so fast! giggles
[11:22] Alonzo Karas: I'm using the history, you've scrolled off the page!
[11:22] Tree Kyomoon: Cant it be just knowlege and ignorance? Why God?
[11:22] Qyxxql Merlin: /clap
[11:22] Scope Cleaver: /claps
[11:22] Bret Something: /agrees
[11:22] Philippe Golding is Online
[11:22] Manoj Undercity: yaaaay
[11:22] Khannea Suntzu: Extropia, brief one. Don't you fear that as objective development accelerates, won't like, people in the Sudan freak out?
[11:22] BiGSiN Wormser applauds
[11:22] Jamie Marlin claps enthusiastically
[11:22] Charles Gregoire thinks Extropia has said some wise and profound things there.
[11:22] Sat Batra whistles and cheers like a drunken red neck.
[11:23] Manoj Undercity: hey Charlotte .. please have a seat
[11:23] Extropia DaSilva: It is possible that some people will be freaked by technological acceleration. I know some people find the idea of Sl profoundly counterintuitive.
[11:24] Extropia DaSilva: But I think we have to remind ourselves that even the extreme possibiities are reached via many little steps.
[11:24] Forrest Paster: Whether this advancement of technology is inevitable or not, what is our responsibility to address the concerns that drive fundamentalist oppostiion?
12:27] Extropia DaSilva: When is Kurzweil's latest book available?

Third Speaker = James Sleeper (James Hughes - World Transhumanist Association)

James Sleeper was indeed asleep when I first met him in-world....as you can probably tell from this picture here...

...or perhaps he was in some sort of deep meditation as a mode of preparation for his amazing lecture that he gave minutes after. I think James' talk was my favourite thus far - he gave an incredibly honest and balanced perspective of the bridges between secularism and the more transcendal aspects of living usually found in the ancient and time-tested faith-based religions from outside our Second Metaverse.

He also presented a host of illuminating slides that helped illustrate his consideration of all the ways that Transhumanists and Posthumanists alike can embrace both faith AND reason in the looming age of the Singularity...Again, James Sleeper primarily used voice-chat to express his ideas so there is not as much in the way of text-based content...There are even moments where text would be answered with voice and vice-verse so the text transcript might be somewhat confusing...

To understand in full what James Sleeper was speaking of when he brought up his slides, please read his full PDF transcript by copying this link and pasting it into your internet browser: http://ieet.org/archive/20070326-Hughes-ASU-H+Religion.pdf

Here are some more pictures interspersed with the recovered chat history...

[12:27] James Sleeper: No I think there are inevitable conflicts since we argue for radical liberal individualism and... (TEXT CUTS OFF)

Photo by Miulew Takahe.

Photo by Miulew Takahe.

[12:27] Qyxxql Merlin: my question is: if there was a brand new future religion based on Posthumanism, what would you imagine it would look like?
[12:27] Qyxxql Merlin: er...*how
[12:27] James Sleeper: But I think groups in all religions will adopt parts, and we will also become more diverse

[12:27] Philippe Golding: QUESTION: So how does Giulio's H+ religion fit into all this?
[12:27] Manoj Undercity: Dr.J, u can answer live please if u can. u will have 1 minute delay for your voice to reach us
[12:27] James Sleeper: That's a challenge for us and them

[12:27] Tree Kyomoon: why does transhumanism need/want the support of religion (a bit like a physicist pining for support for a theory from 5 year olds)
[12:27] Cryonica Artizar: Yes, I also want to know when Kurzweil 'l latest is out
[12:27] WhiteBoard (w): Now showing Image 3/20 - Slide2

[12:28] Cryonica Artizar: nice speach btw
[12:28] Extropia DaSilva: It was excellent.
[12:28] James Sleeper: I don't see this as us pandering for religious support
[12:28] Giulio Perhaps: taking James off audio now
[12:28] Qyxxql Merlin: yes, brilliant speech :-)
[12:28] James Sleeper: I think we're futurists, and this is a religious futurist prediction

[12:28] Giulio Perhaps: Lincoln, connect audio stream?
[12:28] James Sleeper: Whether we want Xians adopting our ideas is another question
[12:28] Manoj Undercity: ok he is answering by text which is also good
[12:29] Xantha Oe: the Kurweil book is out - check Amazon for: The Intelligent Universe

[12:29] Tree Kyomoon: but will religion just become less and less relevant as more and more conclusive evidence is discovered?
[12:29] James Sleeper: For instance a Baptist theologian recently suggested that Xian parents should tweak their gay fetuses to make them straight
[12:29] James Sleeper: A bad idea, but another way that our tech is attractive to some of our opponents
[12:29] James Sleeper: Any more Qs?

Next Speaker...Ahman Hax of the Mormon Transhumanist Association...I will be posting this next...

Current Mood: ecstatic
Thursday, April 12th, 2007
1:12 am
Krishna Consciousness in Second Life...

I have just heard in some news articles about Second Life (SL) that the Krishna Consciousness has finally arrived in my home metaverse. Naturally, I wasted no time and visited the temple as I wanted to know everything there was to know about the Hare Krishna Devotees' perspective on the nature of reality as illusion (Maya) when living as an avatar in Second Life.

I read the philosophy posted on the wall here and I also googled and found this blog mention about a Hare Krishna perspective on the Shakti of Maya in SL...

I am definitely going to read the content on the above web-link very carefully as the blogger seems to have a very in-depth and considered opinion about the sub-strata of Maya that Second Life seems to inhabit.

I am not sure if all Hare Krishna devotees would agree with this particular blogger so I set out to find the community leader of this collective's temple and sure enough I managed to meet Franko Corleone pictured here...

Here is the link to Franko Corleone's Real Life (RL) website...

Corleone also happens to be an Australian Krishna Devotee in RL.

Corleone was a very "frank" (pardon the pun) and generous soul who right away wished to distance his SL temple from the official and controversial ISKCON movement. I wonder if the blogger I read about is an ISKCON member or not? Regardless, I told Franko Corleone that I wanted to meet with as many Krishna devotees as possible to discuss the nature of Maya in Second Life. Here is the chat history with Corleone and others who were also visiting the temple...some I believe were from India in RL...

[23:14] ~: Welcome to the Hare Krishna Community Land, Qyxxql. Please respect this is a religious site and a PG area, NO WEAPONS ALLOWED. AUDIO ENABLED AREA
[23:14] ~ gave you _Handout.
[23:14] Sneha Singh: nono
[23:15] Abhay Rang: tourism ?
[23:15] Sneha Singh: u can say that
[23:15] Sneha Singh: at kormangla
[23:15] Abhay Rang: oh yeah kormangla is bustling with it companies
[23:16] Abhay Rang: You follow politics ? UP has elections going on you know..
[23:16] Sneha Singh: yeah
[23:16] Sneha Singh: oh yes
[23:16] Sneha Singh: i was watching news
[23:16] Sneha Singh: bjp scandle
[23:16] Sneha Singh: cd
[23:16] Abhay Rang: yeah
[23:16] Abhay Rang: Who do you think is going to win ?
[23:16] Sneha Singh: r u north indian
[23:16] Abhay Rang: no
[23:16] Sneha Singh: south indian
[23:17] Abhay Rang: Well you can say my ancestors lived in goa :)
[23:17] Jishin Shinohara is Offline
[23:17] Abhay Rang: too bad they moved out :(
[23:17] Sneha Singh: oh goa is a beautiful place
[23:17] Sneha Singh: even here they made anjuna beach
[23:18] Sneha Singh: sl
[23:18] Abhay Rang: oh great I didn't know that
[23:18] Abhay Rang: will visit
[23:18] Sneha Singh: but i didnt like it
[23:18] Sneha Singh: anjuna is such a beautiful beach
[23:18] Sneha Singh: i have seen manglore
[23:19] Abhay Rang: Yeah I had been there like a year ago
[23:19] Abhay Rang: mangalore too ?
[23:19] Abhay Rang: what did you do a south india tirp ?
[23:19] Abhay Rang: trip ?
[23:19] Sneha Singh: my sister was there
[23:19] Hare Krishna Free FARMING Bag: Enjoy your free gifts from
the Hare Krishna Community
[23:19] Sneha Singh: in bangalore
[23:19] Hare Krishna Free FARMING Bag gave you Hare Krishna Free FARMING Bag.
[23:21] Hare Krishna Free DEVOTIONAL bag whispers: Enjoy your free gifts
from the Hare Krishna Community
[23:21] Hare Krishna Free DEVOTIONAL bag gave you Hare Krishna Free DEVOTIONAL bag.
[23:21] Hare Krishna Free MENS Bag #3 whispers: Enjoy your free gifts
from the Hare Krishna Community
[23:21] Hare Krishna Free MENS Bag #3 gave you Hare Krishna Free MENS Bag #3.
[23:21] Hare Krishna Free MENS Bag #2 whispers: Enjoy your free gifts
from the Hare Krishna Community
[23:22] Hare Krishna Free MENS Bag #2 gave you Hare Krishna Free MENS Bag #2.
[23:23] Hokon Cazalet: ummm, convert real money, get a sex dancing job
[23:25] ~: Welcome to the Hare Krishna Community Land, BrokeHippyFool. Please respect this is a religious site and a PG area, NO WEAPONS ALLOWED. AUDIO ENABLED AREA
[23:26] Lord Krishna Poster gave you Lord Krishna.
[23:27] Prabhupada Poster gave you Swami Prabhupada.
[23:28] Abhay Rang: ok hes gone no use now
[23:28] Sneha Singh: and u will get all the information
[23:28] Sneha Singh: he he
[23:29] You: hello there
[23:29] Abhay Rang: so sneha which part of up you from
[23:29] Sneha Singh: hi
[23:29] Abhay Rang: hello merlin
[23:29] Sneha Singh: agra
[23:29] Sneha Singh: do u want to come
[23:29] Abhay Rang: oH agra's lovely been there
[23:29] Sneha Singh: he he
[23:29] Abhay Rang: the land of the taj mahal
[23:29] Sneha Singh: pagalkhana
[23:29] Sneha Singh: also
[23:29] Abhay Rang: hahaha
[23:29] You: please forgive my interruption, I was wondering if anyone knew if there was a Hare Krishna avatar I could speak with?
[23:29] Sneha Singh: yes
[23:30] Abhay Rang: yes he is some where here I think you mean the owner
[23:30] Sneha Singh: leave the message
[23:30] Hokon Cazalet: there are in this site, but not here now
[23:30] Abhay Rang: please look around you might find them on the left of my isde or behind me
[23:30] You: ok..thank you...I left a notecard for Frank Corleone in his mailbox...is there anyone else I should know about it?
[23:30] Abhay Rang: sure
[23:31] Abhay Rang: I had been to delhi two years agoa nd on the way we could see the taj mahal by train
[23:31] Sneha Singh: what u want to know merlin
[23:31] Sneha Singh: ok
[23:31] Hokon Cazalet: that is really cool
[23:31] Sneha Singh: yeah
[23:31] Abhay Rang: Hokon you been to india ?
[23:31] You: I want to know more about the Hare Krishna perspective of SL
[23:31] Sneha Singh: not been to mathura
[23:32] Sneha Singh: oh i cant help u sorry merin
[23:32] You: no problem, thanks for helping me
[23:32] Abhay Rang: I think I have been to mathura but don't remember much I was a kid and my parents had planned this huge north india trip we went all the way to keddarnatht?
[23:32] Abhay Rang: kedarnath
[23:32] Sneha Singh: ok
[23:32] You: I was hoping that they might have someone here 24/7 to tend the place :-)

[23:32] You: oh, I got an IM..
[23:33] Abhay Rang: You been to kedarnath badrinath ?
[23:33] Sneha Singh: no
[23:33] Hokon Cazalet: the guy was here a half hour ago
[23:33] Sneha Singh: it willbe good if we talk in im
[23:33] Abhay Rang: yeah sure
[23:33] You: I am in IM with Franko now..thanks for the help
[23:34] You: oh hello :-)
[23:34] You: there you are :-)
[23:34] Franko Corleone: greetings
[23:35] You: I guess you have read my notecard
[23:35] Franko Corleone: no not yet
[23:35] You: oh ok :-)
[23:35] You: basically, I wanted to know more about the Hare Krishna perspective of SL here
[23:35] Franko Corleone: just reading it
[23:36] You: and I wanted to blog this in-depth discussion on my blog with pictures...ok
[23:36] Franko Corleone: okfiorstly this is NOT an ISKCON project
[23:36] You: ok..that is good to know
[23:36] Franko Corleone: its a private project by a few devotees
[23:36] You: ok..makes sense
[23:37] You: you have created this sim - this is your project, correct?
[23:37] Franko Corleone: that have worked in multimedia aspects of educ ation and the krishna community for some years
[23:37] You: ok..great
[23:37] Franko Corleone: we setup web radio systems a few years ago for the community
[23:37] Franko Corleone: this is a progression of that
[23:37] You: ok..sounds good
[23:38] You: I was wondering what drew you as a Krishna devotee to SL and what SL means to you personally as a devotee?
[23:38] Franko Corleone: the community aspect of SL intrigued me
[23:38] You: ok
[23:39] Franko Corleone: once i saw that there was a pl;ace for a temple and a place for devotion here
[23:39] Franko Corleone: i decided to build it
[23:39] You: great
[23:39] You: I was also wondering about any metaphysical contemplations of SL as a virtual space
[23:39] You: some consider it as a maya within a maya
[23:39] Franko Corleone: well yes some do
[23:39] You: I have been reading a link on the subject which I can IM you
[23:40] Franko Corleone: the thing with SL is it has freedom of choice
[23:40] Franko Corleone: people can choose to go to our area
[23:40] Franko Corleone: or
[23:40] You: yes, free-will
[23:40] Franko Corleone: tyhey can choose to go to a club
[23:40] Franko Corleone: or a shop
[23:40] You: ok
[23:40] Franko Corleone: just as in real world
[23:40] Franko Corleone: no player/user is hemmed in or restricted from being able to use the area
[23:41] You: do you believe that living in SL as an avatar holds some form of Vedic transcendence for you and others?
[23:41] Franko Corleone: and none are "bibler bashed" as has been quoted at some sites
[23:41] Franko Corleone: we give options
[23:41] You: ok
[23:41] Franko Corleone: people can listen or not
[23:41] Franko Corleone: if not they have sound effects of amnbient sounds
[23:41] You: ok
[23:41] Franko Corleone: if they wish to learn there are lecture rooms or books
[23:42] Franko Corleone: its all up to the individual how they use the area
[23:42] You: yes, the collection is very impressive
[23:42] Franko Corleone: theres always a lecture/class broadcasting across the land
[23:42] You: ok
[23:43] Franko Corleone: except in the reading room which is silentat 430am and 630pm there are live programs from the LA Temple
[23:43] You: is the SL in-world congregation projected into the LA temple?
[23:44] Franko Corleone: no
[23:44] You: ok
[23:44] Franko Corleone: not yet
[23:44] You: how many Krishna devotees are in SL that you know of?
[23:44] Franko Corleone: 28
[23:44] You: wow, quite a large number
[23:44] Franko Corleone: yes it surprised us a bit also
[23:44] Franko Corleone: and from all parts of the world
[23:44] Franko Corleone: india
[23:45] Franko Corleone: australia
[23:45] Franko Corleone: usa
[23:45] Franko Corleone: uk
[23:45] You: I was wondering if there was a way for me to chat with some of these devotees about their perspective of their relationship to SL as a Krishna Devotee?
[23:45] You: I am trying to understand the essence of Krishna Conscioussness in SL
[23:45] Franko Corleone: im sure some of the regulars would speak with you
[23:46] Franko Corleone: just hang around you will see them
[23:46] You: that would be great
[23:46] You: ok
[23:46] Franko Corleone: they have a devotee tag over theyre name
[23:46] You: ok..that is good to know

[23:46] You: when will some of them arrive? any of them might show up soon?
[23:46] Franko Corleone: all times
[23:46] You: ok
[23:47] You: so far, I have just encountered you :-)
[23:47] Franko Corleone: because of the time zone independant nature of sl theres no set time for people
[23:47] You: makes sense
[23:47] Franko Corleone: but a few should turn up at 430am
[23:47] You: oh ok...a bit late for me, unfortunately
[23:47] You: I am living in SL time
[23:47] Franko Corleone: me also
[23:47] Franko Corleone: but not in usa
[23:47] You: ok
[23:48] You: Canada?
[23:48] Franko Corleone: australia
[23:48] You: oh quite a different time zone to SL then
[23:48] Franko Corleone: yes
[23:48] Franko Corleone: but have to maintain the area when its active
[23:48] You: yes, I guess you have to be around a fair bit of the time
[23:49] Franko Corleone: yes a lot
[23:49] You: do I have permission to post a snapshot with you and this chat history on my blog?
[23:49] Franko Corleone: sure
[23:49] You: thank you
[23:50] You: so, you are saying this is not an ISKON sim...were you once a member of ISKON? (this can be off the record if you want)
[23:50] Franko Corleone: in the area where i livethere is a farm run by iskcon
[23:50] You: ok
[23:51] Franko Corleone: and a temple run by gaudiya math
[23:51] You: ok
[23:51] Franko Corleone: both co exist nicley
[23:51] You: good to hear
[23:51] Franko Corleone: thats not always the case in other areas
[23:51] Franko Corleone is Online
[23:51] You: yes, sometimes it is controversial
[23:51] You: thank you for accepting my friendship
[23:51] Franko Corleone: another reason this is a private project rather than a congressional one
[23:52] You: yes, ok..makes sense
[23:52] You: can we take a photo together somewhere for my blog?
[23:52] Franko Corleone: sure
[23:52] Franko Corleone: pick a spot
[23:52] You: oh ok...I do not know this sim well yet..where do you recommend?
[23:53] Franko Corleone: perhaps by the river
[23:53] You: ok..I can follow you there
[23:53] You: this is nice
[23:53] You: hmmm.perhaps on the bridge?
[23:54] You: great
[23:54] You: one moment please...
[23:54] You: thank you :-)
[23:54] Franko Corleone: :)
[23:55] You: a very tranquil space indeed
[23:55] Franko Corleone: we tried to make this area as lifelike as poss
[23:55] Franko Corleone: wildlife
[23:55] Franko Corleone: sounds etc
[23:55] You: yes, it seems to work
[23:56] Franko Corleone: still m,uch more to do
[23:56] You: how old is this space?
[23:56] Franko Corleone: 23 march
[23:56] Franko Corleone: 13 march
[23:56] You: oh wow...very new then
[23:56] Franko Corleone: yes
[23:56] You: still new ;-)
[23:56] Franko Corleone: 1 month
[23:57] Franko Corleone: avg 200 peopel aday
[23:57] You: I am sure that number is growing
[23:57] You: I read about your sim on a news article..I think it was the LA Weekly
[23:57] Franko Corleone: yes its very popukar
[23:57] Franko Corleone: with new people
[23:57] You: have you had many griefers?
[23:57] Franko Corleone: no
[23:58] Franko Corleone: we have security
[23:58] You: ok

[23:58] You: have you had any interesting debates or conversations about Krishna Consciousness in SL?
[23:58] Franko Corleone: a few
[23:59] You: ok
[23:59] Franko Corleone: mostly people want to know abouyt the commuity
[23:59] You: ok
[23:59] Franko Corleone: ask a q or 2 about the posters
[23:59] Franko Corleone: but little real debate
[23:59] You: do you spend alot of time in SL? do you consider it part of your devotional practice?
[23:59] Franko Corleone: a few discuss the lectures that are on
[0:00] You: ok
[0:00] Franko Corleone: yes i do
[0:00] You: what do your fellow RL devotees think of your life as an avatar in SL?
[0:01] Franko Corleone: well as many in my area have been involved in the multyimedia/audio/tv side of the community for some time, they dont find it strange that i expand intoa virtual universe to create some content for the public
[0:01] You: ok, that is good
[0:02] You: do you find that living in a virtual universe such as this has helped to illuminate for you the illusory nature of Maya?
[0:03] Franko Corleone: in some ways yes. the activities available in sl, by its anarchistic evolution does show the illusory nature of maya. Again this was a reason for the creation of this area. As a way of showing people that SL does not HAVE to be of that nature. That it can also be of a devotional or educational nature.
[0:04] You: yes, that is a good answer..sort of what I am looking for in terms of my research :-)
[0:05] Franko Corleone: just because SL has by its hiostorical business models been subject to various forms of sexualised businesses, doesnt mean the whole grid has to become like that. Many educatuional aspects and areas are being opened up
[0:05] You: yes, it is one of the more refreshing aspects opening up
[0:06] You: perhaps religion and civilization in itself was a result of dis-satisfaction with the commercial/mercantile models in daily life?
[0:06] Franko Corleone: yes, by combining the best aspects of the functuionaliyty of sl's engine and using the resiources of text, audio and viudeo available we believe we can provide good service to the residents and to krishna
[0:07] You: yes, exactly....how do you think the Godhead is best expressed in this avatar realm?
[0:07] Franko Corleone: just as is done in RL
[0:07] You: :-)
[0:07] You: brb..I am going to copy and paste this chat history in case I crash and lose it all..
[0:08] You: hello, Ravinon
[0:08] ravinon Ruggles: hi
[0:09] You: I was just copying and pasting text for a minute there, I did not mean to appear distant
[0:09] Franko Corleone: :)

[0:10] You: once again, thank you for your time Franko
[0:10] Franko Corleone: my pleasure
[0:10] You: I hope we can chat again and continue this discussion with you and your fellow devotees
[0:10] Franko Corleone: znytime
[0:11] You: good bye for now...I will try to blog as soon as possible
[0:11] Franko Corleone: have a look at the gallery and lecture rooms
[0:11] You: I have already but I will look again
[0:11] Franko Corleone: :)
[0:11] Franko Corleone: oksafe travels
[0:11] Franko Corleone: safe travels
[0:11] You: thank you
[0:12] Franko Corleone: ill return to my building
[0:12] You: please feel free to forward my blog and contact info to any devotees you think would be interested in chatting with me on the subject

Current Mood: thankful
12:58 am
Second Nations Assembly...

In the not-so-distant past, I formed my first in-world group in Second Life.
I was inspired by the idea of every avatar being indigenous to the virtual world of Second Life and almost immediately, the parallel with First Nations identity came to mind in Real Life (RL). If we can all identify as being part of the same active and living heritage, civilization and culture then maybe we will learn to explore our affinity with one another and evolve away from sectarian struggles and petty griefing.

Here was what I wrote in my group description of this new Second Nations Assembly. I am very pleased to see so many people wishing to also identify themself as being of Second Nations heritage....

"This group is also known as the Second Assembly of Nations. Just as there is an Assembly of First Nations, this Assembly acknowledges that all of us are in-world aboriginal natives who are indigenous to Second Life (SL).

Anyone in SL can be seen as belonging to the lineage and ancestral heritage of Second Nations civilization.

The Assembly of Second Nations exists to support and identify multi-faith expressions and multi-cultural lifestyles of all those who have the birthright of a Second Life."

If you wish to publically identify yourself as being of Second Nations ancestry, please send me an IM in-world and I will add you to the list.

Current Mood: productive
12:47 am
My Buddhist counselling experience in SL...

About 3 weeks ago, I had the wonderful opportunity to experience a first-hand Buddhist counselling session in Second Life (SL)... It was not me though who was seeking counselling at this time. I was invited to witness the counselling session of my new friend the poet, Quixotic Writer who is seen meditating with me and a few other witnesses in this picture posted above...

The Monk counselling my new friend is actually also an Alaskan Buddhist Monk in Real Life (RL).

Her name is Reverend Jishin Shinohara and she owns and maintains her own monastary.

I hope to meet with Jishin again for a one-on-one discussion of the Buddhist perspective of reality as an avatar in Second Life. I donated my last Lindens to her monastary/temple so now I am free of the symbolic fiscal ties to Linden Labs.

I wish I could post the chat history from that evening as it was a very intense experience but due to the confidential nature of Quixotic's counselling session, you will just have to resort to your imagination for the time being....

Current Mood: indescribable
Monday, March 12th, 2007
6:28 pm
candle lighting ceremony at the Beth Israel Synagogue...
here are some pictures of the candle lighting ceremony from the Beth Israel Synagogue in Second Life...Although I had a great and illuminating time, I was not educated in the ritual context enough to really comment on what I experiences except for a sense of community comraderie and humour...I would like to warmly thank Beth Odets for taking the time to invite me to the Synagogue and her own music/art space in Shushan and making me feel welcome in a room full of strangers. I had sent her some interview questions about the Judaism in SL but she did not feel qualified to answer my questions which I fully understand. I hope that I can meet a Rabbi in SL in order to learn more about Judaism.... Please IM me in-world if you are an expert and/or Rabbi in Judaism...

here are some pictures that I took of the candle lighting ritual and the "after-party"...

Current Mood: contemplative
Tuesday, February 27th, 2007
11:01 pm
Islam in Second Life - A conversation with Drown Pharaoh...

Earlier today, I had a wonderful and enlightening conversation with a Muslim Intellectual named Drown Pharaoh...

[15:09] Drown Pharaoh gave you Social Simulation Research Lab, Hyperborea (223, 83, 23).
[15:09] Drown Pharaoh: Hello!
[15:09] You: good to meet you finally :-)
[15:09] You: thanks for agreeing to meet with me
[15:09] Drown Pharaoh: And you :-)
[15:09] Drown Pharaoh: Pleasure
[15:09] You: I am very curious to know more about the Islamic perspective in SL
[15:10] You: if I crash, it is because my wireless connection failed and will have to reboot
[15:10] Drown Pharaoh: No problems, well, shall we sit down?
[15:10] You: yes
[15:10] You: sounds good
[15:11] You: it is hard to sit down in SL ;-)
[15:11] You: I almost crashed there...my connection is very slow...

We first sat down in the Social Simulation Research Lab in Hyperborea which I felt to be a perfect place to begin our discussion. In a sense, our conversation was a kind of multi-faith laboratory experiment to see if we could reach a common worldview somewhere in the bridging social realm of our Second Lives...

[15:11] Drown Pharaoh: Yeah :-) Okay, well, I just witnessed a shahadah
[15:11] You: please tell me more
[15:12] Drown Pharaoh: That is when somone becomes Muslim, it is the first pillar of Islam. That took place at the mosque on Chebi.
[15:12] You: wow!
[15:12] Drown Pharaoh: The second this week! :-) But the first I have been witness to.
[15:12] You: so it was through Second Life that they became Muslim?
[15:13] Drown Pharaoh: Yes. I gather she was already very interested in islam but meeting Muslims here was the thing that moved her a step further
[15:13] You: yes, I am sure SL is a great place for this 21st century society to more directly understand the culture of others
[15:14] You: do you think she became a Muslim in RL as well as SL?
[15:14] Drown Pharaoh: I think so, but of course it's hard to verify. The great thing for me as a Muslim is to meet Muslims from across the globe, and also different kinds of Muslims, Sunni Shi'a, but also progressive and conservative
[15:15] You: wow, conservative ones in SL?
[15:15] Drown Pharaoh: Normally that kind of mix would be unusual in rl
[15:15] You: are you Sunni or Shia?
[15:15] Drown Pharaoh: Oh yes, quite traditional Muslims, who follow the shariah. I am Sunni, I lean towards Sufism but I call myself a liberal Muslim

...as you can see, the infinite light of Allah was shining through this virtual lamp quite brightly upon our dialogue this day...I guess it definitely was Allah's will that Drown and myself learn more about each other. I was most curious to know more about what drew him as a Muslim to Second Life and what he thought the Islamic perspective on virtual worlds such as SL might be...

[15:16] You: ahhh...yes, Sufism allows for mysticism which would explain why you seem to understand the metaphysics of SL enough to enter it
[15:17] Drown Pharaoh: Well, I'm not sure what mysticism is. Some Sufis prefer not to use that term. Sufism is more a technology of enlightenment, I would say :-)
[15:17] You: ok, yes, it is a matter of language and words..I agree with you there
[15:18] You: one thing about SL for me is that through avatar worlds like this, they compel me to see things theistically rather than aestheistically
[15:18] You: I was raised *atheistically
[15:18] You: I was raised Atheistically and was dogmatic until I entered virtual worlds and saw more clearly that the multiverse is an act of Ultimate Creation
[15:18] You: and now, i can see this in RL as well as SL
[15:18] Drown Pharaoh: I see. For me, as a Muslim, the world - include this one - is an ayat, which means it is a sign of God.
[15:19] You: wow, ok
[15:19] Drown Pharaoh: ayat is also a verse in the Qur'an
[15:19] You: by a sign, do you mean a sign that God is present as the Creator of these worlds?
[15:19] You: if I crash, I might lose this chat history, I hope you will be able to stay online and preserve it :-)
[15:20] Drown Pharaoh: Yes, I have that problem! :-) Anyway, God in Islam is a very multifacted concept, but essential God is 'Real'
[15:20] You: ok
[15:20] Drown Pharaoh: In other words, everything else is ephemeral. But the sign of that reality can be seen in everything, including of course the human heart.
[15:21] You: yes, I agree with you
[15:21] You: so for you, Second Life is just as important as a sign of Allah as Real Life, right?
[15:21] Drown Pharaoh: Absolutely!
[15:21] You: they hold equal importance for you as an Allah-created lived reality?
[15:21] Drown Pharaoh: Of course, everything belongs to Allah
[15:22] You: yes, I am wondering if places like SL help you to see this more clearly than in RL?
[15:22] Drown Pharaoh: Perhaps. May I ask what kind of experiences you have had, religiously, on SL?
[15:22] You: well, I am new to SL
[15:23] You: but I have visited other avatar worlds such as Traveler
[15:23] You: and I met the creator of Traveler in RL
[15:23] Drown Pharaoh: Cool
[15:23] You: and it reminded me that there was a creative intelligence behind the avatar realm...
[15:23] You: and then...
[15:23] You: it occurred to me that RL is also a created avatar realm
[15:23] You: I saw the analogy more clearly
[15:24] You: and shifted away from my Atheistic upbringing as a result
[15:25] Drown Pharaoh: That's very interesting. To be honest, SL has not changed my views on Islam. It is the social things that have been, I don't know, incredible!
[15:25] You: were you raised a Muslim or did you convert to Islam?
[15:25] Drown Pharaoh: I'm a convert of 16 years
[15:25] You: yes, well it sounds like you became Muslim before entering SL, you did not require that analogy
[15:25] You: what was your belief prior to Islam?
[15:26] Drown Pharaoh: None, really. Not atheist. I just believed in the here and now and common sense. But I was doing a degree in religious studies. Religions fascinate me, all of them!
[15:26] You: great! me too!
[15:26] You: I studied religion a little bit as well but that was over 10 years ago and I only remember basics
[15:27] You: I am going to paste this chat history now in case I crash..it is going very well so far
[15:27] Drown Pharaoh: Yeah, actually me too, if that's okay.
[15:27] You: yes, please..I might crash even with the simple act of opening my word processor ;-)
[15:28] You: SL is such a resource drain...my word program is still opening
[15:28] Drown Pharaoh: I use notepad, and if I check the net, firefox, because it's lighter going than Explorer
[15:28] You: ahhh..notepad opened
[15:28] You: good idea
[15:28] You: oh ok..good advice
[15:29] Drown Pharaoh: Firefox uses another browser technology though, which doesn't hand horizontal tables and my website looks terrible in parts :-)
[15:30] Drown Pharaoh: Interesting, thinking about atheism. Have you visited any of the atheist humanist sims here?
[15:30] You: ok..I literally just saved that notepad file..even with that I thought it was crashing ;-)
[15:30] You: not yet, I plan to explore every aspect of religious belief..and I believe Atheism to be its own religion ;-)
[15:31] Drown Pharaoh: It is here - quite a dogmatic one, in my opinion :-)
[15:31] You: one of the places I wish to visit is the Transhumanist space
[15:31] You: yes, it can be very dogmatic
[15:31] Drown Pharaoh: Transhumanist space. I don't know that.
[15:31] You: the thing about Transhumanism and Posthumanism is...many adherants seem to be dogmatically atheist
[15:32] Drown Pharaoh: Oh, the AI and cyborg folks, is it?
[15:32] You: but I would argue that Posthumanism and Transhumanism can allow for full Theism as well - it is not incompatible as a philosophy
[15:32] You: yes, basically it
[15:33] Drown Pharaoh: It's amusing because basically I am a wannabe social sciences postgrad and these days, it is a subject that is philosophy heavy
[15:33] You: religious critics of Posthumanism claim that such a philosphy means that we are trying to become gods
[15:33] You: wow! very neat!
[15:33] Drown Pharaoh: So some of the stuff they say just seems out of touch with debates in epistemology
[15:33] You: but my take on Trans and Post Humanism is that the more powerful we became, the more we realize how much more greater Allah is
[15:33] You: yes, I agree
[15:34] You: I think limiting ourselves to human and mortal would be to dumb down Allah
[15:34] You: this is my personal opinion
[15:34] Drown Pharaoh: yes, well when they manage to define consciousness, I'll pop round for a chat :-)
[15:34] You: heheheh
[15:34] You: with Allah, there is no upper limit of achivement
[15:35] You: Allah is always infinitely ahead of us no matter how much we work to improve ourselves
[15:35] You: but I think we should to celebrate the glory of Allah..do you agree?
[15:35] Drown Pharaoh: Well, I believe in human transformation and cultural evolution
[15:36] You: great! we are on the same page then :-)
[15:36] You: what do the conservative Muslims think of their experience in SL?
[15:37] Drown Pharaoh: Much as they do on real life. When a sex shop opened next door to the mosque, they complained - bless 'em :-)
[15:37] You: heheheh....yes, SL is basically like the USA in mirrored form..like a big American city
[15:38] Drown Pharaoh: The Muslim community here is very diverse. There is a big French Moroccan presence, and Sufism is big amongst this group
[15:38] You: was this complaint reported as news? it should be
[15:38] You: yes, I can see Sufism being bigger than usual here
[15:39] You: Sufism itself seems (if I am not mistaken) to find Allah through the virtuality of creation itself
[15:39] Drown Pharaoh: I suppose, yes, although the extent that Muslims with Sufi backgrounds are adherents to Sufism as a form of enlightenment varies, I'm sure
[15:40] You: hmmm..this might be a controversial question but...with some of the Shias you know...do you think they can envision the Mahdi (Mehdi) coming back as an SL avatar?
[15:40] You: yes, I am sure the experience varies
[15:40] Drown Pharaoh: In islam, Sufism has often appealed to poor urban and rural populations because of its focus on joy and love
[15:41] You: ok...nothing wrong with joy and love, in my opinion :-)
[15:41] Drown Pharaoh: There are one or two shi'a here, but I don't think they are particularly pious. I'm still getting to know the community
[15:41] You: ok, makes sense
[15:41] You: how many Muslims do you think are in SL now?
[15:42] Drown Pharaoh: In the Islamic Society, there are 114 members, not all Muslim, but there are 100+
[15:42] You: wow!
[15:42] You: well, it is the fastest growing religion in the world so it makes sense
[15:43] Drown Pharaoh: We're small compared to Christianity and Buddhism on here! :-)
[15:43] You: yes, but perhaps that will change over time
[15:43] You: you have already seen at least one conversion to your Umma already
[15:43] Drown Pharaoh: The Jewish community is growing, and its social solidarity is very impressive
[15:43] You: yes, I am quite impressed with that too
[15:44] Drown Pharaoh: I went to the grand opening of the Jewish Museum on the 25th. It was wonderful.
[15:44] You: wow! in SL, right?
[15:44] You: I hope in SL there can be a safe discussion between all religious communities here..maybe it will be better than RL for this
[15:44] Drown Pharaoh: Yes, the speeches were great and so were the fireworks!
[15:44] You: maybe religious differences could be settled in SL
[15:45] You: Star of David shaped fireworks? ;-)
[15:45] Drown Pharaoh: :-) Yes, the relationship between Muslims and jews here is very good.
[15:45] You: I am tired of warfare
[15:45] You: yes, I think we can all rise beyond religious discrimination here although SL is not immune to RL pettiness
[15:46] You: but I think people in general here can appreciate the diversity of expression more in places like SL than RL
[15:46] Drown Pharaoh: Well, one of the Jewish leaders is an artist, hence quite liberal, so that sets the tone for things.
[15:47] You: I am going to save the next installment of the chat history...brb
[15:47] Drown Pharaoh: ok
[15:48] You: thanks for your patience :-)
[15:48] Drown Pharaoh: However, the Jewish community is also diverse. They have Hassidic Jews here :-) That is what impresses me. Such diversity but they have great times together!
[15:48] You: I am ready for more chatting
[15:49] You: is that Jewish artist you speak of named Fau Ferdinand?
[15:49] Drown Pharaoh: Muslims tend to squabble more easily over religious differences, but again, less here. No, Beth Odets, she is the designer and owner of TMA synagogue
[15:49] You: oh ok, I think I heard of her name when I was web browsing religious sites in SL
[15:50] Drown Pharaoh: Yeah. She is a natural leader and a lot of fun. Drop in on the TMA sim. There is a teapot you can sit inside to drink tea :-)
[15:50] You: wow! ok, that almost sounds like a Buddhist ritual ;-)
[15:51] You: shall we move to some different scenery? I would like to take some more photos
[15:51] Drown Pharaoh: Also, if you join the synagogue group, and you will get notices of when she plays violin. I've not heard her yet, but apparently she is quite talented. Okay, where shall we go?
[15:52] You: wow, ok..violin in SL would be very surreal...where would you like to go? Perhaps to an Islamic place?
[15:52] You: when is your next prayer time?
[15:53] Drown Pharaoh: Chebi is busy and I don't want to intrude on recent events - have you seen Fort Malaya?
[15:53] You: no, I do not think I have seen the Fort yet
[15:53] You: I do not recognize it by name, anyway
[15:54] Drown Pharaoh: Excellent - its a museum built by a British Malaysian, worth a look. Lovely mosque
[15:54] You: great! can you TP me when you get there?
[15:54] Drown Pharaoh: ok
[15:54] You: thanks
[15:55] Drown Pharaoh gave you Fort Malaya History Museum, Ocean Pines (144, 173, 24).
[15:55] You: it is still rezzing for me
[15:55] You: ahhh...looks good!
[15:55] Drown Pharaoh: It's based on a Malaysian fort of the 18th century, I think.
[15:56] You: wow! can we find a good place to pose together and take a photo?
[15:56] Drown Pharaoh: back in 1 minute
[15:56] You: ok
[15:56] Drown Pharaoh: afk
[15:56] You: me too
[15:56] You: afk..
[15:57] You: back now
[15:59] Drown Pharaoh: back
[15:59] You: great
[15:59] You: maybe a picture in front of the blue flag?
[15:59] Drown Pharaoh: Sure
[15:59] You: great

While chatting in this prayer space, we decided to take a photo of us that included this "blue flag", I naively alluded to...

[16:00] You: what is the respectful thing to do in this space?
[16:00] You: this looks like the prayer space
[16:00] Drown Pharaoh: Yes, I would remove my shoes, but I forgot to put them back on :-)
[16:01] You: let me see if I know how to remove my shoes...I am a newbie after all...
[16:01] Drown Pharaoh: I'm sure Sabri, the owner, will be cool if you can't.
[16:01] You: oops, I should have saved my shoes
[16:02] Drown Pharaoh: They will still be in your inventory
[16:02] You: oh ok..good
[16:02] You: not that I should be too attached to my appearance or anything ;-)

[16:02] You: is it best for me to kneel on a rug?
[16:02] Drown Pharaoh: I'm sorry, though, I cannot stay much longer. Its midnight here and I have a meeting at 10am and a child to get ready forr schools.
[16:03] You: yes, of course..one photo of us and then we can finish this session?
[16:03] You: I also have a child in RL but he is only a year old
[16:03] Drown Pharaoh: Sure. Erm, I have some sitting animations - one moment
[16:03] You: ok
[16:03] No room to sit here, try another spot.
[16:03] Drown Pharaoh: Mine is 14 and profoundly autistic! :-)
[16:03] You: ahhh yes, I heard you telling me this
[16:04] Drown Pharaoh: He's lovely, though
[16:04] You: I am sure he is :-)

[16:04] Drown Pharaoh gave you sit ground 2.
[16:04] You: thanks
[16:05] You: hmmm...almost on the rug...this might look disrespectful on the blog, correct? ;-)
[16:05] You: we are facing the wrong way too ;-)
[16:05] Drown Pharaoh: No, you can sit anywhere in a mosque, just not with the bottom of your feet facing mecca
[16:05] Drown Pharaoh: mecca is on my right here :-)
[16:05] You: how is this?
[16:06] Drown Pharaoh: sure
[16:06] Drown Pharaoh: But you can sit with the animation I have you.
[16:06] Drown Pharaoh: If you wish
[16:06] Drown Pharaoh: gave you, excuse me
[16:06] You: np

[16:06] You: I will just take one from another angle
[16:07] You: just trying to get the flag in the pic
[16:07] You: thank you
[16:08] Drown Pharaoh: hi
[16:08] You: Hi Mojo
[16:08] Mojo Aabye: hey there drown ph. whats going on here?
[16:08] Drown Pharaoh: Anyway, I must go now. Before my wife drags me off the PC by my ear!
[16:08] Mojo Aabye: cu
[16:08] You: heheheh..understood..thanks Drown
[16:09] You: let me IM you my email address and blog
[16:09] Drown Pharaoh: Last pic
[16:09] Drown Pharaoh: okay, erm
[16:09] You: ok
[16:09] You: I will update my blog later tonight..I am in the same time zone as SL
[16:09] Drown Pharaoh: http://slfountain.wordpress.com/ and my email address is on there
[16:10] You: thank you
[16:10] Drown Pharaoh: thanks
[16:10] Drown Pharaoh: so nice talking and see you again
[16:10] You: yes, good bye for now
[16:10] You: have a good night
[16:10] You: chat soon hopefully, I want to continue this correspondence
[16:10] Drown Pharaoh: of course, see yer
[16:10] Drown Pharaoh is Offline

...and so, once Drown Pharaoh had signed off for the evening, I decided to meditate at the entrance of this historic Mosque for a little while because I needed more time to myself to figure out...

...exactly the nature of the lessons I have learned about Islam. This may take days, if not years to fully process the Islamic perspective but I welcome it and I am very thankful to Drown Pharaoh for taking the time out of his busy RL schedule to speak to me about the conviction of his religion while expressing to me the subjective liberalness of his particular interpretation of Islam.

Current Mood: thankful
Sunday, February 25th, 2007
2:25 am
My second journey begins...

This past week, I have been doing some embedded research into inter-faith rituals and disciplines in Second Life. Hopefully out of all this, I will be able to develop and nurture a brand new ritual system and discipline that is unique to this Metaverse...
I think such an indigenous form of ritual might be needed in Second Life since recently it has been the target of "terrorist" attacks on the capitalist infrastructure of Linden Labs. Perhaps, this will cause us to shock ourselves into a higher awareness of what it means to be a creative and productive avatar in this evolving Metaverse grid... At the moment, there seems to be lots of conventional and traditional religious practices being remediated and emulated inside this flatland avaquarium and so I would like to get at the heart of these Real Life (RL) religious traditions to see what they have to offer for the 21st Century Posthuman avatar...This quest might take me several weeks if not months to complete - in SL time, that is virtually an eternity...

Perhaps you have never have noticed this before but if you raise your conscioussness to a high plane of functioning, you can experience the realtime and quantum perceptual interactivity between the environment (world) and the avatar... For example, just look carefully at a cloud formation slightly to the right of my head and you will see...

...my image reflected into the cloud formation! On higher planes of cognition, you will realize that there is a thin veil of intelligent patterning between the world and the self. The world is also reflected holographically into the self - perhaps this is what is meant by experiencing what the Avatarian founder Taras Balderdash calls "The Great Avatar"? Again, if you need more evidence, here is a head-on profile of me that was detected in the far right of the cloud-formation...

I tried to center the cropped photos as much as possible so you can see the same self-portraits I have been seeing during my meditation sessions...I knew from this point on that I needed to know more about the holographic properties of The Great Avatar. I needed to contact Taras Balderdash...

As a starting point, I signed up with Balderdash's Avatarian group as a friend. I hope to meet alot of the major religious and spiritual movers and shakers in Second Life this way. I have donated to their charity and have expressed my interest in meeting and befriending Taras Balderdash formally. This group although diverse and multi-faith in its membership, seems to be primarily Theistic in nature.
That is fine with me as it is easy to see the Metaverse as a kind of Theistic mode of expression...just look up at the stars at night and you will see the underlying order in the cosmos that seems to have emerged from a deliberate and singular intelligent will...I will explore more of this Monotheistic aspect on monday...I will mention more about this at the bottom of this posting...

...here you see me at my first formal attempt at meditating in Second Life.
I see my whole existence as an avatar in Second Life as one divine mediation of sorts but of course, I need to experiment more with some of the time-tested formal rituals developed by ancient earthbound civilizations... This is a good example of a traditionally "eastern" ritual remediated into Second Life...

...and here is the convergence of the eastern (Chinese) and western (Newtonian Science via Classical Greek) worldview in the form of an elaborate ritual space. This space is truly the virtual embodiment of the "harmony of the spheres"... Perhaps this mechanistic worldview is the one that will be seen as most indigenous to the Second Life grid? My intuition tells me that my personal path to transcendence goes beyond mere mechanism but I am open to anything at this point...

I discovered a Pagan ritual ground. Earlier in the day, I saw a virtual Pagan avatar performing a traditional Pagan rite (it looked like an offering of some kind). I am curious to know what "Nature" is in Second Life? Is it some form of "Second Nature" that the Second Pagans are worshipping? Do these Second-Nature spirits take the form of an actual avatar and converse with these worshippers?

Here is a colorful variation on the Pagan theme. The part that attracted my attention the most though was that partially rendered purple shrub beside the ritual platform...

...I have since decided that a meditation right into that marginalized foliage area would be perfect to contemplate the Illusory and virtual nature of partially-rendered reality... Had I remained in the Pentagram, that whole region of "nature" may have been overlooked...out of sight and out of mind... Perhaps it was my consciousness that allowed me to render this foliage in the first place? I also like how the whole platform seems to be held down by a red thumb-tack. It is as if the whole tableaux had been pinned down onto this flatland gestalt like some temporarily cherished photograph... Or pehaps, it was The Great Avatar pinning down a landmark for the cosmic Metaverse map?

Since Buddhism appears to be fairly well represented in Second Life (including both mystical and Zen Buddhism), I felt it was worthwhile to meditate under a tree like Siddhartha Buddha had done in RL (Real Life) to see if some form of enlightment might emerge. I spend the first 15 minutes not in blissful solitude but wallowing in my own ego-concerns while trying desperately to get Camtasia to work so I could capture a video-clip of this moment. It seems like the eternal "Now" keeps on eluding the self-consciousness of video capture so I guess only snapshots are sufficient at this time. I meditated here until I got to the point in my ego-consciousness where I felt it was time to move on and experience other meditative states...was this enlightment? Perhaps for a fleeting moment, it was indeed virtual enlightment...

At this early stage of my Quest, I have been really enchanted by the shifting dimensionality of the virtual foliage. This peculiar floral arrangement here is definitely multi-dimensional as I can contemplate both its flatness (its natural cyberstate) and simultaneously its ontological vastness.

I even spent time at an official "spiritual center" in Second Life to see what they had to offer. They have a marvelous view of the shifting cloudscapes and the infinite horizon-line...How romantic!

Perhaps it was impolite of me to do this but I am guessing that the protocols for ritual space are slightly different than they are in RL (Real Life). I mean, in RL, one does not feel comfortable wondering into a corporate building after the staff has left but in SL, this type of activity is completely encouraged. So, I decided to dip my feet into the fountain outside the Lion's Court Mosque to try and get another perspective on Oneness or at least the sense of humility when confronted with the sublime presence of The One (Allah).

Here is another picture of me basking in the light of Allah inside the Lions' Court Mosque which I believe is in RL (Cordoba, Spain).

I am looking forward to my meeting on monday with Drown Pharoah (A Muslim Avatar in Second Life) as I really wish to see the Glory of Allah's reflection in all its mutable manifestations through the eyes of a praciting Muslim...

Current Mood: hopeful
Thursday, February 1st, 2007
6:57 pm
Welcome to the Metaverse Matrix...


My name is Qyxxql Merlin...

I have chosen to renounce the Lindenesque lifestyle of Second Life in order to contemplate and meditate upon the Ultimate Reality behind this metaphysical metaverse grid...

As a gender-neutral virtual Posthuman, it is my goal to set an example by acting as a role model for those who wish to experience and reflect upon a healthy and "spiritual" lifestyle in Second Life where non-violence and uninhibited aesthetic evolution and mutation prevails...

It is my hope that my thoughts, deeds and actions will act as an inspirational catalyst for those wishing to adopt Extropian Transhumanism and Posthumanism into their daily lives - whether it be through virtuality or conventional "reality"...

If I do not appear to be blogging on a frequent basis, it is likely due to my desire to be more fully immersed and embedded into deeper meaning behind my Second Life...

Current Mood: contemplative
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